As part of its mission, the SCAA is actively involved in issues related to sustainability and looks to its members to take leadership roles in sustainable practices. With this in mind, the Sustainability Council created the Sustainability Award in 2003 to promote, encourage and honor the efforts of those serving as role models in fields of sustainability. Each year, the Sustainability Council reviews dozens of applications. The awards are presented at the SCAA’s Annual Exposition, The Event, during the SCAA Awards Reception.

Meet your 2015 Award Recipient and view a list of past recipients to date: click here

Sustainable Development Goals

In July 2005, the SCAA sent a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations to pledge support on behalf of the specialty coffee industry for the principles of the Global Compact and the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.

What is the Global Compact?

The Global Compact is a learning network with participation by U.N. organizations, companies, business associations, NGOs, and trade unions. Its ten principles are focused specifically on the implementation of responsible business practices in the area of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. For more information, go to:

What are the Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals?

In September 2000, 189 heads of state ratified the Millennium Declaration – an unprecedented global commitment to collaborate in approaching some the greatest challenges facing the world today. The declaration resulted in the creation of eight “Millennium Development Goals” (MDGs) that set forth specific targets to be achieved by 2015 in the areas of reducing poverty, improving the quality of peoples’ lives, ensuring environmental sustainability and building business partnerships to ensure that globalization becomes an increasingly positive force for all the people in the world.

The expiration of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 prompted the creation of Agenda 2030, which articulates a path for the next fifteen to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet. The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contained in Agenda 2030 build upon the foundation of the MDGs to address the most environmental, social and economic challenges we face today. For more information, see:

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
  11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development


This award celebrates innovative projects to expand and promote sustainability within the coffee world. In addition to recognizing the hard work of the individuals, businesses and organizations who created and implemented the project, the award aims to inspire others to initiate similar endeavors. Please note that the Sustainability Award is only for projects that have been implemented for 3 years or more. Products, companies, business models or ideas do not qualify for the award. Your project will be judged on the following four criteria:

  1. Projects that have undertaken innovative measures to include all or several aspects of social, economic and environmental development. Projects that have enhanced the long-term sustainability of the coffee industry by improving conditions for the people depending on coffee for their livelihood and/or creating conditions that have resulted in improved long-term durability of the project, in either producing or consuming areas across the industry.
  2. Projects that are replicable; they can be successfully implemented in a variety of locations and contexts.
  3. Projects that are scalable; they can be successfully adapted at both larger and smaller levels of the specialty coffee industry, hence making them more easily implemented.
  4. Projects that inspire other industry members who wish to contribute toward the specialty coffee industry’s desire to achieve the targets set forth by United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Please see sidebar for more information.



This annual award is open to SCAA members and non-members who are involved in the coffee industry. Applications must be submitted on behalf of a project implemented for a minimum of 3 years. Individuals, organizations, businesses, farms and cooperatives may submit applications for multiple projects or programs.

Apply for the 2016 Sustainability Award.

AWARD RECIPIENT will receive

(1) 4-night hotel accommodation chosen by SCAA to attend The 2016 SCAA Event & Re:co Symposium in Atlanta, GA (April 2016)

(1) Reimbursement of up to $1,000 for US-based organizations ($1,500 for international organizations) from winner's residence to Atlanta, GA for travel to the 2016 Event.

(1) 1 Complimentary Re:co Symposium & Event Admission, and 2 Complimentary Event Admissions

See additional award recipient prizes plus second & third place recipient prizes: Full prize list