Tim Schilling named as 2020 SCA Sustainability champion

Tim Schilling inspecting plants at a variety trial in Indonesia, hosted by longtime WCR member, Key Coffee.

Tim Schilling, founder of World Coffee Research and president of WCR Europe, has received the 2020 Sustainability Award from the Specialty Coffee Association. The winners were honoured at the virtual Re:co Symposium on Thursday 16 July.

The Sustainability Champion award recognises the career of an individual in pursuit of a sustainable specialty coffee sector. The 2020 Sustainability Awards are sponsored by Farmer Brothers, a longtime WCR member company.

Over the course of his 18-year career in coffee, Schilling led two USAID programmes—PEARL and SPREAD—to generate food security and increased incomes for widows and orphans in post-genocide Rwanda. Those projects led to the emergence of Rwanda as a specialty coffee powerhouse. Following his work in Rwanda, Schilling went on to create World Coffee Research, the world’s first global, collaborative, industry-driven R&D organisation for coffee.

The award recognises that Schilling’s accomplishments “comprise one of the most compelling records of contribution to food security and increased livelihoods in coffee-producing nations by any one individual of this era. He formed technological, human, and institutional capital that will serve coffee producers worldwide for decades to come.”

The SCA continues: “Schilling has been an exceptional leader and problem-solver; an adaptable, flexible, and innovative thinker and partner; relentlessly focused on impact and change-making; and an inspiration to dozens or hundreds of young people who will lead the coffee sector into its next generation.”

Additional winners of the 2020 SCA Sustainability Awards are the Las Manos del Café project by RGC Cofee in the Project category, and Cooperative Coffees in the Business Model category.

SCA chief Sustainability and Knowledge Development officer, Kim Elena Ionescu, said: “The growth in applications to the SCA’s Sustainability Awards—this year there were more than 70—reflects the specialty coffee community’s increasing engagement in sustainability. This year’s winners have all demonstrated tenacity in the face of obstacles and doubts, and they are inspiring examples of what is possible with a powerful combination of vision, persistence, and collaboration.”

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