The time has come for the coffee sector to finally become circular, and the right synergies are needed to accelerate the transition. This is the focus of the new Centre for Circular Economy in Coffee, the first precompetitive global platform to support innovation and develop good practices in the coffee industry. The idea, which originated from the Lavazza Foundation and is supported by a network of global partners, is to create and make accessible a global knowledge network and implement circular economy pilot projects.

For this reason, the Centre is open for all stakeholders in the coffee supply chain to join. From local growers and manufacturers to roasters, all the way to associations, institutions, and research centres. Such a collaborative approach can spread knowledge and propose innovative solutions thanks to inputs from academia and through the strategic support of associations, institutions, and partners.




From bean to cup, toward a sustainable global supply chain

“Faced with the need to accelerate the transition to the circular economy, our Foundation established in 2004 developed the idea of applying our signature multi-stakeholder collaborative approach to circularity,” says Mario Cerutti, Secretary of the Lavazza Foundation and Chief Institutional Relations & Sustainability Officer of the Lavazza Group. “If on the one hand, tangible action by individual players is indispensable, it is only by joining forces with all the other players in the coffee industry that we can give a real boost to the circular transition. Innovation and collaboration are the keywords driving our strategy.”

The Centre, announced during the World Coffee Conference (WCC 2023), organised in collaboration with the Indian government, thus represents a valuable precompetitive area that can potentially generate a lesser environmental impact while increasing incomes for coffee growers and other stakeholders.

“Innovation is essential to improve quality, reduce risks and transform the coffee supply chain, from bean to cup and beyond, into a profitable and sustainable system capable of meeting growing demand, all while preserving natural resources and ensuring prosperity for millions of coffee farmers and workers,” explains Vanúsia Nogueira, Executive Director of the International Coffee Organisation (ICO).

“The Centre for Circular Economy in Coffee is a perfect example of how the ICO can mobilise local and global partners to support the world coffee community: fostering circular economy solutions will help secure the world's coffee supply while meeting the demand for sustainable coffee, transforming waste into new job and income opportunities.”

Institutional partners

In addition to the Polytechnic University of Milan, the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, the ICO, and the International Trade Centre, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) appears among the partners that supported the creation of the Centre for Circular Economy in Coffee. UNIDO is a firm believer in public-private partnerships as a tool for promoting integration in the coffee supply chain, especially by promoting innovative solutions for the implementation of the 2023 Development Programme.

In particular, UNIDO will offer its contribution through innovation, industrial design, technology, and knowledge sharing. The goal is to expand circular practices through a collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach. The global coffee sector has a unique opportunity to invest strategically in circularity, guaranteeing productivity for the industry, profitability for growers, and global sustainability.


This article is also available in Italian / Questo articolo è disponibile anche in Italiano


Image: Janko Ferlic, Unsplash