Kathrine Löfberg, Löfbergs, Sweden, has just been appointed as the new Chair of the initiative for coffee&climate (c&c). She follows Nanda Bergstein, Tchibo, Germany, who has been holding the mandate for two years. We spoke with Kathrine Löfberg about what is important to her and what she would like to achieve in her new position.
c&c: Welcome as our new Chair. We are happy to have you taking on this important position. What are you planning as first steps?
Kathrine Löfberg: Thank you, I am really happy to take on this responsibility. I think, right now it is important to make c&c grow and to make it achieve even more and on a larger scale. In phase I and II we focused on piloting, evaluating, and upscaling the initiative. There, we were able to build a solid foundation. We proved that our way of supporting and strengthening farmers works. Now as we are in Phase III, we want to further promote climate-resilient livelihoods, reduce carbon emissions in coffee regions, and enhance their carbon storage potential. Now is the time to make our positive results better known within the sector, strengthen existing cooperations – with farmers and also with private and public partners – and find new ones. Therefore, important steps are for us to communicate the benefits of c&c and show what it means to be part of it. We invite roasting and trading companies, farmer organizations as well as development agencies to become members. And also NGO’s and research institutes are welcome to participate in c&c.
Kathrine Löfberg: In the initiative for coffee&climate, we have proven over the years that united we can make a difference – the farmer families who act at the center of our work, the companies, and the public actors who support our work. As c&c Chair, I am going to lead this important work we do together. My goal is to continue the positive development and make knowledge and tools accessible to even more farmer families. And of course, I would like us to attract more partners to participate, and find new cooperations, both globally and locally. Only if we increase awareness about c&c we will manage to scale up.
c&c: To which c&c-regions have you traveled and how was your impression on-site?
Kathrine Löfberg: I have had the privilege to visit Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Brazil, among others. I have seen with my own eyes how climate change creates challenges for farmer families and other stakeholders in the coffee sector. But I have also seen how the work of c&c contributes to a positive development. A very special experience for me was attending a farmer field school in Tanzania. It was incredible to sit amongst the coffee trees, just listening and soaking up the atmosphere. It was such a real and authentic moment. The farmers shared their experiences, tips, and ideas with me. They had so much knowledge and enthusiasm, it was amazing. And I was so happy to hear them testify that it is possible to change everything for the better. On all my visits to the field, I was always most impressed by meeting committed and forward-looking farmers. That really gives me hope and shows me that the initiative is on a good track. And it shows me that our spirit of togetherness is the right direction.
c&c: c&c has been founded and is run by International Coffee Partners (ICP). Three other companies have joined the initiative by now. How do you perceive the cooperation between the members? Are there any issues as they are competitors in the market?
Kathrine Löfberg: ICP is a not-for-profit partnership of eight family-owned European coffee companies. We work together as like-minded, family-owned coffee companies that share the same values such as taking on responsibility in our sector and in society as a whole. Based on that concept, we founded c&c in 2010 to particularly focus on this important field of our work. And also within c&c, we collaborate in a pre-competitive way together with three other companies, the public partner Sida and Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) as the implementing partner. So, from our whole approach and thinking, we don’t work together as competitors but as partners with the same goals.
Kathrine Löfberg: As ICP, we foster a holistic approach to improve smallholder coffee farmer families’ livelihoods focusing on youth, family business, farmer organizations, and climate change adaption as well as gender as a mainstreaming topic. So, our work is based on all these different aspects of livelihoods. However, with c&c we focus particularly on climate change as its impacts are a reality for 12.4 million smallholder coffee farming families worldwide. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges for the coffee industry and it needs a sector-wide answer. That’s why we work together and that’s why we encourage more farmers, companies, and organizations to join us.
c&c Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts.