In recent years, deforestation, poor agricultural practices, erratic weather, social unrest and climate change have threatened the livelihoods of Uganda’s coffee farmers. As the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE), we believe that the health of the environment determines the social wellbeing and livelihoods of those involved in the coffee value chain by determining the quality of the process and product. For this reason, we are committed to mobilizing stakeholders to adapt to and mitigate climate change and conserve the environment from farm to cup. Built on the foundation of the Farmer Ownership Model, NUCAFE is dedicated to improving climate change resilience in farmers at the farm and factory levels. When farmers practice both adaptation and mitigation measures, they are able to sustain production and increase their household incomes.
Through the establishment of Centre for Agribusinesses and Farmer Entrepreneurship enhancement (CAFÉ) in Namanve-Kiwanga, farmers access affordable processing, grading, warehousing, and training services, and employment is provided to the young generation. Because the factory is situated in a wetland environment, careful wetland management has been designed in order to conserve the natural features of the area.
Agribusiness and quality management require careful environmental management to be successful, so below we have outlined Environmental Guiding Principles, which NUCAFE is committed to.
Key terms are defined at the end of the document.
Climate Smart Agricultural Practices:
We believe that for Uganda’s coffee industry to sustain itself, climate smart agricultural practices should be implemented and transferred from one generation to another.
- Train and skill farmers, especially youth and women through workshops in green entrepreneurship, irrigation, soil and fertility management, fertilizer production and proper application, agroforestry, and safe pest and disease control
- Provide affordable alternative fuel options to encourage agroforestry on coffee farms
- Support research and development of climate smart agricultural practices and technologies
- Develop opportunities for eco-tourism, where visitors can learn about climate smart, environmentally friendly coffee
Transparency and Accountability:
At NUCAFE, we strive to tell the complete story of coffee. This includes all stakeholders’ efforts to mitigate climate change and our environmental impact.
- Hold all stages of the Coffee Value Chain accountable by encouraging climate smart agricultural practices, sourcing from sustainable timber companies, hiring serviced trucks, and exporting recyclable packing materials
- Incorporate environmental education into employee training, and provide all employees with an updated copy of the Environmental Guiding Principles
- Conduct regular internal checks, and random external checks with clear penalties for non-conformities
- Communicate environmental impact assessments, strategic plans, annual reports and pro-gress reports to the general public and partners via the website and/ or social media
- Review and revise the Environmental Guiding Principles every three years
- Incorporate an environmental scientist position at NUCAFE in order to facilitate the actions required by these principles
- Develop a budget for the implementation of the principles
Factory Workplace Safety:
As NUCAFE’s processing capacity increases at the factory site, the safety of our employees is among our top priorities. We believe that a healthy work environment contributes to healthy employees, high performance, and overall high product quality.
- Protect employees and visitors by providing ear and eye protection gear, boots, overalls, and trainings on work environment risks
- Compensate employees relative to the industry labor market and provide employees with capacity-building opportunities to advance their careers
- Map out and label danger zones at the factory site
- Provide means for employees to minimize and record risks and accidents
- Identify opportunities to limit dust and noise pollution at the factory site
- Install a sanitation system with flush toilets and showers for employees to utilize
- Develop first aid and fire fighting capacity on site, with training and written instructions for evacuation provided and accessible to all employees
To NUCAFE, limiting pollution and waste is a global goal, one that requires intentional decisions in all parts of the coffee value chain.
- Explore opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with production and transport
- Ensure that both domestic and export products are packaged using minimal, recyclable ma-terials with clear instructions for recycling
- Explore alternative uses for agricultural residues produced at the factory site, and communicate those options to farmers
- Develop a water harvesting system to minimize waste and consumption of water in the office and factory
Shifting and Reducing Energy Use:
For NUCAFE to be a truly sustainable organization, we are committed to moving away from oil and towards renewable energy sources.
- Finalize plans and implement a transition to solar energy at the factory site
- Explore alternative energy and efficiency improvement options for the least efficient production processes
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation by purchasing and hiring trucks that comply with environmental regulations and are regularly serviced
Conservation at the Factory Site:
The location of the NUCAFE factory site within a wetland environment presents conservation challenges that we are committed to managing with consideration given to the surrounding community and ecosystems in the area.
- Maintain required buffer zones by planting native trees and grasses in order to prevent soil erosion, and protect waterways, plants and animals at the site
- Construct and maintain a storm-water drainage system, with ponds and swales used to hold water overflow and manage water releases
- Conserve the River Nakiyania and its banks by maintaining stream meanders to protect aquatic life
- Build up only where necessary for the functioning of the factory, leaving green areas in their natural state to avoid the heat island effect
- Where building is required, use semi-permeable paving systems to allow for infiltration into the natural water sources
Building Community Relationships:
We believe that when balanced, the social, environmental and economic components of sustainability contribute to societal transformation. Fostering positive, mutual relationships with the communities surrounding the factory site is crucial to our impact as a social enterprise.
- Communicate with community members via brochures and surveys to provide updates and assess community needs
- Provide environmental education opportunities for community members and local schools
- Allocate a set number of jobs at the factory and office site to community members, and im-prove application accessibility for women and youth
- Improve and maintain the road network surrounding the factory, and install signage to alert drivers of speed limits
- Minimize noise, dust and waste produced during processing
- Following the solar energy transition, provide excess energy to community members free of charge
- Support the construction of bore holes, medical facilities and schools in the surrounding community
NUCAFE has developed partnerships including Niras International, ABi Trust, Private Sector Foundation Uganda, CURAD, National Environmental Management Authority, the community in Kiwanga, Potential Energy, and Vi Agro Forestry in order to ensure sustainable environmental practices and reduced risk at the factory site.
Accountability: the process whereby public service organizations and individuals within them are held responsible for their decisions and actions
Climate smart agriculture: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes; adapting and building resilience to climate change; and reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emis-sions, where possible
Ecosystem: the plants and animals of an ecological community, and their environment, forming an interacting system of activities and functions regarded as a unit
Endangered species: fauna and flora likely to become extinct as a result of direct exploitation by humans, intrusion into highly specialized habitats, threats from other species, interruption of the food chain, pollution, or a combination of such factors
Environment: the combination of elements whose complex inter-relationships make up the settings, the surroundings, and the conditions of life of the individual and of society
Environmental impact assessment (EIA): the independent critical appraisal of the likely effects of a policy, plan, program, project, or activity, on the environment; takes into account any ad-verse environmental effects on the community, diminution of the aesthetic, scientific or other environmental values of a locality, endangering of species, etc.
Greenhouse gases: atmospheric gases that absorb and emit radiation, contributing to the greenhouse effect; include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, etc.
Health: state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity
Mitigation measures: action taken to prevent, avoid, or minimize the actual or potential adverse effects of a policy, plan, program, or project; includes abandoning or modifying a proposal, substituting techniques, using cleaner methods, rehabilitating landscapes, etc.
Sanitation: drainage and treatment and sewage, safe and adequate domestic water supplies, and drainage facilities for floodwater and surface run-off
Transparency: unfettered access to timely and reliable information on decisions and performance
*Key terms defined by the National Environment and Planning Agency, and the United Nations
Download a full guide here Environmental Guiding Principles for NUCAFE