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Estimating the impact on water scarcity due to coffee production, trade, and consumption worldwide and a focus on EU

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

  • Fabio Sporchia, University of Siena
  • ,
  • Dario Caro
  • Morena Bruno, University of Siena
  • ,
  • Nicoletta Patrizi, University of Siena
  • ,
  • Nadia Marchettini, University of Siena
  • ,
  • Federico M. Pulselli, University of Siena

Coffee consumption is concentrated in the “Global North”, while production is mainly located in the “Global South”. This trade-driven dependency leads to the exploitation of natural resources. As an export-oriented cash crop, such dependency jeopardizes the existence of a fair distribution of the risks and revenues among all the actors taking part in its globalized supply chain. Coffee trees are mainly rain-fed and only partly irrigated. However, the increasing global coffee demand led to higher consumption of freshwater, which can exacerbate the stressed condition of already stressed water basins. This study quantifies the impact of global coffee consumption on water scarcity, considering the larger system made of producer and consumer countries. The global displacement of such impact is driven by consumer preferences. We found that the US, EU and Asian countries’ coffee consumption create impact on water scarcity mostly in African and South American countries, which is also representative of the economic disparities existing behind the global trade flows. Climate change will likely affect the varieties currently preferred by global consumers. Therefore, immediate environmental sustainability actions including water resource preservation are necessary to face current and future challenges.

TidsskriftJournal of Environmental Management
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2023

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