Promoting a circular coffee economy this International Coffee Day

In 2014, the International Coffee Organization (ICO) declared 1 October as the day of “celebration of the coffee sector’s diversity, quality and passion” and as “an opportunity for coffee lovers to share their love of the beverage and support the millions of farmers whose livelihoods depend on the aromatic crop,” now known as International Coffee Day. 

In celebration of International Coffee Day this year, the ICO is focusing on the circular coffee economy. A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative, built around principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use for as long as possible. More simply put, a circular economy minimizes environmental impact and maximizes economic, social and environmental benefits. 

This International Coffee Day (ICD), the ICO is inviting coffee lovers – and those working in the coffee industry – to reinforce our commitment to coffee farmers’ prosperity and reduce the coffee industry’s impact on the environment to mitigate climate change. The ICO is encouraging businesses (and coffee lovers) to hold their own events to celebrate this important date and to promote coffee consumption. 

The ICO released a brochure that discusses ICD, creating a circular coffee economy and the 2022 campaign. More information about ICD and the campaign may be found on the ICO’s website. 

The ICO would also like assistance from the industry; that is, if anyone has a new idea to reduce waste or transform it into new products, energy, income, or job opportunities, the ICO would like you to contact them by writing to [email protected] with “Circular Solution” in the subject line.  

I am also reminded of a lovely Italian gesture that would be a wonderful act this International Coffee Day: caffè sospeso. A caffè sospeso, which is Italian for ‘suspended coffee’ or ‘pending coffee’, is a cup of coffee paid for in advance as an anonymous act of charity. Apparently, the tradition began in the working-class cafés of Naples, where someone who had experienced good luck would order a sospeso, paying the price of two coffees but receiving and consuming only one. A poor person enquiring later whether there was a sospeso available would then be served a coffee for free. 

While we cannot create a create economy in one day, we can ‘make someone’s day’. So this ICD, and in such a stressful time for so many, a caffè sospeso – or buying a coffee and bringing it to someone else – seem like perfect ways to promote kindness and caring.  

Happy International Coffee Day! 

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