A Brazilian coffee co-op received a price premium in its first sale of a batch of carbon-neutral arabica coffee that was near double that a product certified as sustainable but not carbon-neutral would achieve, officials at the company said.
In its first shipment of its kind, through coffee trader Volcafe with Japan the final destination, Brazilian coffee co-op monteCCer sold 300 60-kg bags of coffee for around 100 reais ($17.89) per bag more than it would receive by selling regular certified coffee.
Regis Damasio Salles, a director at monteCCer, said that five other deals were about to be closed with similar gains in price. A large US coffee retailer, which he did not name, is among the interested buyers.
Because coffee plants are perennial, coffee plantations serve as carbon sinks that remove carbon dioxide from the air.
In the project developed by monteCCer, a group of farmers followed techniques to further reduce emissions, resulting in a harvest that is neutral or even negative in terms of carbon emissions.
The techniques included more efficient use of fertilisers, particularly nitrogen-based, the use of biological products rather than chemicals and reduced use of power and water, with advanced irrigation, such as underground dripping systems.
Brazil's NGO Imaflora was one of the advisers for the programme under which 34 farms in the Cerrado region in Minas Gerais produced coffee that was neutral or carbon negative.
Those farms produce around 160,000 bags of coffee, a relatively small volume compared with the total Brazilian production of nearly 50 million bags in 2021.
At United Nations talks in Britain this month to try to slow global warming, Brazil said it was raising its climate commitments, although the evidence so far is that President Jair Bolsonaro has not halted destruction of the rain forest.
Brazilian exports of green coffee fell 29% in September compared with a year earlier, to 2.74 million 60-kilogram bags, exporters association Cecafe said, as shipping difficulties continued to hamper the commodity's flow.