Marks & Spencer and coffee roaster, Matthew Algie, fund climate change initiative

Ethical trading organisation, Twin, has launched an initiative called Adapt Now to help businesses secure smallholder supply chains in a changing climate.

Adapt Now’s first project, delivered in partnership with Marks & Spencer (M&S), coffee roaster Matthew Algie and Twin, will tackle water shortages on smallholder coffee farms in Peru. The initiative, which was developed with support from Comic Relief, is launched along with a joint Twin and Natural Resources Institute (NRI) report Supporting Ecosystem Services in Fairtrade Value Chains on business best practice in sustainable supply investments.

Adapt Now will work with companies and their smallholder suppliers to identify shared priorities and design tailor-made projects to enhance long-term security of supply for both ends of the chain. Because climate adaptation needs vary greatly from region to region, Twin said Adapt Now will develop bespoke programmes that combine farmers’ local knowledge and its technical expertise, keeping innovation and new technology at the heart of each project.

M&S has joined forces with Matthew Algie to fund Adapt Now’s first project and support their supplier San Juan del Oro, a coffee cooperative in the Peruvian Andes, in adapting to climate change. Rainfall in the region is already becoming increasingly erratic and temperatures are expected to rise by up to 2ºC over the next 50 years, putting future supply at risk from heat and water stress and increased pests.

San Juan’s members highlighted water supply as a critical adaptation priority for their crops. To tackle water stress at the farm-level, the Adapt Now partnership will work to protect water sources, install coffee processing infrastructure to conserve water, and develop a family awareness campaign on responsible water use. The programme will also support the co-operative to gain the Rainforest Alliance Climate Change certification, adding further value to the crop.

Louise Nicholls, M&S head of responsible sourcing and Plan A, said: “It is our collective responsibility to work together as supply chain partners to adapt to climate change. As the UK’s third largest chain of coffee shops, it’s also good business sense for M&S to invest in the very people we depend on to deliver the great quality coffee our customers expect.”

Ewan Reid, Matthew Algie technical director, said: “Climate change is a reality for the producers we work with. Twin’s Adapt Now initiative is leading the way in developing practical solutions with farmers. Working together on crop security means continuity of supply of high quality coffee for us and a more assured livelihood for farmers.”

Adapt Now has also developed ‘ready-made’ smallholder environmental projects that businesses and individuals can invest in. These tackle key areas of sustainability such as reforestation, crop diversification and soil and water conservation. Adapt Now has unique access to impact stories and images, which can help businesses communicate the value of their investment to stakeholders.

Jess Frank, Twin climate change project manager, said: “Climate change is already having an impact on smallholder farmers and causing concerns for companies because of falling or inconsistent supply. Without investment and an exchange of knowledge which will lead to climate-smart production, economic progress made by smallholder farmers to date could be wiped out.”