In October 2017, sustainability leaders and passionate advocates from across the coffee value chain gathered in Guatemala City to participate in first SCA sustainability conference, Avance.

This inaugural event was held on October 11-12, 2017 at the headquarters of Anacafé, Guatemala’s national coffee association. The two-day event included lectures, workshops, panel discussions, and dialogue on topics like climate change and coffee production economics, with a focus on the Central American context.

Avance was created to be inclusive of roles and experience levels across the coffee industry, as well as of English and Spanish speakers, and offers an unparalleled opportunity for individuals to connect to the fast-growing sustainability community. Business representatives from coffee-consuming countries as well as farmers, development practitioners, and public officials from coffee-producing countries have the opportunity to learn from experts and from one another about sustainability topics in the coffee sector.

Kim Elena Ionescu, Chief Sustainability Officer for the SCA, pointed out, “Avance is special in many ways, but there are two features that most clearly set it apart from other SCA events: it is our first sustainability-focused conference, and our first conference that will be held in a coffee-producing region.”

Avance is the result of years of advocacy by members of the coffee community to include the voice of coffee farmers and representatives from coffee-producing countries in discussions around sustainability issues. The conference also builds on years of work by the SCA’s Sustainability Council and many conversations within the specialty coffee community around how our industry can work together to make coffee better.

Ionescu added, “The growth of the sustainability community in coffee, the need to include a more diverse set of voices in our dialogues, and the accelerating awareness of the challenges we face form the foundation for Avance and I can’t wait to see what we build on it.”