STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 5, Number 6

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14 STiR coffee and tea / Issue 6, 2016 (December/January) Q A NEWS By Dan Bolton Last April John K. "JD" DeMuria was named chairman of the National Coffee Association. The role calls for DeMuria to serve as advocate, educator, and service provider to members of the largest and oldest (1911) coffee association in the US. DeMuria has worked 35 years in coffee, first with Volkart Brothers, in 1982 and later Madison Coffee Co. He returned to Volkart (renamed Volcafe) in 1999 and is now managing director of Volcafe USA in Somerset, NJ. STiR: How do you view the importance of sustainability to the global coffee industry? DeMuria: There are many aspects of "sustainability," and definitions vary from the general to the granular. But, in its broadest sense, sustainability is critical to the present and future of the coffee industry. At origin, more than 25 million farming families rely on coffee to survive. And typically, they're in developing nations, where fragile economies and political stability rely on a thriving agricultural sector. And, struggling farms are especially vulnerable to climate change. The US coffee industry is deeply committed to promoting sustainability initiatives from farm to cup. Among them are sustainable farming initiatives, recycling, composting, environmental stewardship, green business operations, and water conservation. Together, economic, social and environmental pressures, amplified by climate volatility, increase risks to coffee companies by increasing costs, regulatory issues, and supply disruptions. Also, customer, shareholder and consumer demand calls for businesses to operate in a sustain- able and socially responsible manner. Coffee businesses are facing a complicated and urgent challenge – which is also an opportu- nity. Making a commitment to sustainability makes us all better. Every organization must create positive changes, leading to the collective result of a sustainable coffee chain – sustainable for the farmers and their families, the land, the environment, the coffee supply, and the integrity of our industry. At many levels, every organization has the power to create positive change. We must also sustain our commitment and energy to reach that goal. STiR: How has the conversation about coffee and cancer changed over time? DeMuria: In June, coffee got a clean bill of health when it comes to cancer. The World Health Organization's cancer research arm upgraded coffee to a "doesn't cause cancer" status, reversing its "possibly" rating from 25 years ago. The International Academy for Research on Cancer (IARC) convened highly credentialed scientists from around the world to examine the current scientific literature – including an John "JD" DeMuria

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