ASCA is committed to addressing human rights issues at home and in origin countries.
The goal of the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) is to not only provide thought leadership to the wider coffee community, but to drive real action and positive change.
To this end, ASCA has been working to formalise a partnership with the charity Project 4 Change (P4C) and its fundraising platform Coffee 4 Change (C4C). The partnership aims to address two major concerns of the Australian coffee and wider community: access to secure housing for vulnerable Australians and finding solutions to ensure economic stability of our coffee farmers worldwide by addressing C-price issues globally.
C4C is an all-in-one loyalty, marketing, and pre-ordering application provided to cafés absolutely free. Let’s consider the cost of your current applications. Is it 2, 3 or even 8 per cent of revenue sometimes? Even a basic stamp card system can cost an average café thousands per annum. Using the free C4C loyalty application, cafés ask their customers if they would like the value of their free “loyalty coffee” to be donated to P4C. The café can still provide the customer with the free “loyalty coffee” and is eligible to receive a tax-deductible gift receipt for the donation.
C4C was created to help raise funds for P4C, which was born out of the need for crisis housing in the aftermath of 2011 Queensland floods and now focuses on affordable and crisis housing in Australia.
Since late 2019, fires have raged across Australia and our need as a nation for access to short- and medium-term housing is apparent and a basic human right.
The right to housing is about more than shelter. Without it, many other basic rights are compromised, including the right to family life and privacy, the right to freedom of movement, the right to assembly and association, the right to health, and the right to development.
P4C seeks to address these human rights issues, which hundreds of thousands of Australians face the stark reality of going without. The deprivation of these rights is absolutely relatable to the issues faced by farmers at origin, the very communities that sustain the coffee-drinking nations of the world. But there is a problem largely caused by the creations of coffee-drinking nations – the C-price and climate change.
The C-price is the commodity price of coffee, as traded on the Intercontinental Exchange in New York.
This treatment of coffee as a commodity means that it becomes detached from quality, and the supply and demand of the actual supply chain. Instead, it becomes a vehicle for commodity traders to make vast amounts of money.
For many coffee farmers, this has caused the cost of farming coffee to become higher than the value it can be sold for, and for workers, earning less than a living wage.
An artificially low C-price can exert economic pressure on areas and countries around the world where political insatiability, corruption, and climate change is already eroding the rights and civil liberties of communities and people. This goes beyond housing to personal security, civil liberty, and freedom from persecution.
This puts the future of coffee at risk. If producers stop farming coffee, drinking nations will have less to offer while demand continues to grow.
Without funding to find solutions to these issues or for the programs already in place, we are complicit in the destruction of our own industry’s survival and that of the people that ensure our prosperity, and the erosion of rights humans share globally.
On 11 December 2019, ASCA and P4C signed a heads of agreement to allow money to be raised by C4C to address C-price issues alongside Australian housing issues. The funds raised will be held in trust by the charity with an advisory board including ASCA members to oversee its distribution at origin. At scale and to date, I believe C4C to be the most meaningful way to provide funding down the line to areas of the supply chain that need it most. This ensures their wellbeing and economic sustainability, as well as the sustainability of the entire supply chain.
Finally, with the Australian bushfires still raging and causing Australia’s largest humanitarian crisis since the Black Saturday fires of 2009, charities like P4C are essential to provide solutions over the long and painful rebuilding of these communities. As an industry, we can be the mechanism to continue to provide for our fellow Australians.
This article appears in the February 2020 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE
For more information, visit www.coffee4change.org.au