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S&D Coffee & Tea and Sucafina SA Partner to Reduce Coffee’s Water Footprint

Sucafina SA and S&D Coffee & Tea, Inc, announced a new partnership to reduce coffee’s water footprint at the processing level in Rwanda, with a special focus on a sustainable approach to water treatment.

During harvesting, East Africa’s wet mills process coffee from millions of smallholders, requiring vast amounts of water and also producing a large volume of wastewater. With leaking or flooding, some of the wastewater will return untreated to groundwater or local rivers, impacting the quality of water for communities downstream. In this context, Geneva, Switzerland-based Sucafina along with Concord, North Carolina-based S&D will pilot a sustainable approach to treat water at Kanyege wet mill in Rwanda – Rwacof’s washing station located in Nyamasheke, on the border of Lake Kivu.

This project will focus on testing a low-cost environmental solution using a Vetiver grass system. The grass’ deep roots suck up the water, slowing down flow and infiltration into the soil. The remaining effluent, if any, will be stored in a small pond at the bottom of the wetland to evaporate. It is worth noting that this solution is efficient in erosion control and water conservation, soil stabilisation, pollution control, wastewater treatment, and storm damage mitigation and prevention.

“This water treatment pilot programme in Rwanda is in line with our commitment to investing in the future — the future of coffee farming, improved water management and the safety of coffee communities,” states David Piza, S&D’s director of corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

This collaboration is managed by the Kahawatu Foundation – Sucafina’s Sustainability Implementer, which supports rural communities in East African coffee producing countries to achieve economic, social and environmental sustainability. “We look forward to working with S&D to protect water resources for our communities in Rwanda and provide these communities wastewater treatment best practices,” says David Behrends, managing partner & head of trading at Sucafina SA, adding, “we hope this affordable solution can be scaled up more widely and eventually be rolled out to other wet mills in the region.”

Sucafina Group is a leading sustainable “farm to roaster” coffee company, with a family tradition in commodities that stretches back to 1905. For more information, visit: www.sucafina.com.

In continuous operation since 1927, S&D Coffee & Tea, a subsidiary of Cott Corporation, is a major manufacturer of coffee and tea for the foodservice, convenience and consumer packaged goods industries. S&D is also a leading producer of liquid extracts. For more information, visit: www.sdcoffeetea.com.

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