Our approach to sustainability

Sustainability is part of our DNA.


Sustainability is immensely complex. At Volcafe Select, we believe that we need to develop individual "paths to sustainability". Gradual change is the most inclusive approach and allows to focus the energy on the most urgent pain points.

We believe in fostering the entrepreneurial spirit of farmers. Let's not forget that farmers, no matter how small, are running small businesses. By enabling them to take well-informed decisions, we can create sustainable change and positive spillover effects on the local coffee community. This is what we call the “Volcafe Way”.


We know through our generations of experience at origin that without traceability, there is no sustainability.

Knowing the coffee farmers and their communities is crucial to understanding the local challenges they face. Be that economic, environmental, or social – and often a combination of all three. Every origin of course has its own unique challenges that must be respectfully considered. So whether we are sourcing directly from a single producer, from a co-op or from a regional community, our sustainability efforts must be continually adjusted to not only identify the unique, localised challenges, but actually implement programs of change that will ultimately make the necessary difference in the farmers' lives to ensure a sustainable and equitable livelihood for producers.

Volcafe Way

Our Farmer Program

Through Volcafe Way we foster farming as a business. The goal of Volcafe Way is to put the producers in a position where they can make their own well-informed business decisions and drive their own future. When buying coffee produced in the Volcafe Way program, roasters get fully-traceable coffee from a program that empowers farmers.

Our farmer support teams help producers improve their farm practices, managing risks, gathering data and focusing on measurable results that our green-buyer customers can monitor and verify. One of our flagship training methods is to create “business-model farms”. Those farms are local learning centres for the surrounding communities: coffee-farmers exchange their experience and best practices. The whole coffee community learn and benefit from it — whether they work directly with Volcafe or not.

More than 43,000 farms are already part of this program. In addition, we are developing real lighthouse projects with the help of our "business model farms".

Learn more on Volcafe Way >

 Model FarmsTrained FarmerAgronomists
Brazil1 8
Costa Rica1424814

Real Coffee Farmers, Real Stories

Seny Romel Cabrera Colindres


Volcafe Way Farmer since 2016

Farm: La Amistad
Region:  Mata del Platano, El Paraíso
Altitude: 1,540 M.A.S.L.
Farm size:1.5 ha
Productivity: +52%
Cost of production: -11%
Part of ripe cherries: +3%

In 2015, productivity of my farm was very good, but my costs were high; therefore was my profitability not good. At that time, I learned about the Volcafe Way, which was implemented in 2016 and I consider it to be the best decision because it helped me lower costs and increase productivity.

For me it has been a great experience and I feel not only the change in the farm but also in my family.

José Carlos Coral


Volcafe Way Farmer since 2018

Farm: El Paraíso
Region:  Sandona, Nariño
Altitude: 1,750 M.A.S.L.
Farm size: 0.8 ha
Productivity: +6%
Cost of production: -13.3 %

Before Volcafe Way, I practiced the traditional low pruning. When they arrived, I was about to prune the whole farm because it was worn out and therefore run out of coffee for a full year. But Darío explained to me that a high pruning Tissue Management System would be more appropriate and we decided to implement it.  We prunded per row on a 3-year cycle; this way I did not run out of coffee the following year and the production will be good the year after.

I thank Darío Quemá, my Technician, for helping me and I invite the other coffee growers to join the Volcafe Way.

Samuel Njue


Volcafe Way Farmer since 2017

Farm: Kaviaru
Region:  Kathageri, Embu
Altitude: 1,395 M.A.S.L.
Farm size: 1.92 ha
Productivity: x1.5%
Cost of production: -36 %
Part of ripe cherries: +11%

What I enjoy most since I started the roll out of the Volcafe Way Program in my farm is to be able to develop and implement a Tissue Management System (TMS)-based Farm Business Plan. Through this plan I am empowered to have overall control of my farm business. 
The program also teaches me to adopt farming strategies that progressively eliminate socio-environmental risks often associated with coffee farming, putting my farming on a trajectory towards wholesome and resilient sustainability.

Miguel Meda Perez


Volcafe Way Farmer since 2016

Farm: San Miguel
Region:  En Plan, Fraijanes
Altitude: 1,610 M.A.S.L.
Farm size: 6.35 ha
Productivity: x10
Cost of production: -85 %
Part of ripe cherries: +14,3%

It is in sight, the farm is more beautiful, pruning, productions, expenses are less, I was going to leave the farm and thanks to the Volcafe Way we continue here.

Dilma Cadenas


Volcafe Way Farmerin since 2018

Farm: Las Delicias
Location:  Danli, El Paraíso
Altitude: 1,010 M.A.S.L.
Farm size: 4.8 ha
Cost of production: -62 %
Part of ripe cherries: +3,7%

At first I was not very convinced, now I am a promoter of the Volcafe Way; I am keeping all the records, I buy the inputs of each harvest; productivity has risen and now the cost is lower.

Martin Mwende


Volcafe Way Farmer since 2016

Farm: Martin Mwende
Region:  Kapchorwa, Mount Elgon
Altitude: 1,989 M.A.S.L.
Farm size: 4.86 ha
Productivity: x10
Part of ripe cherries: +15,6%

I am proud to be a member of Volcafe, since 2016 I have observed a lot of increase in productivity from my farm, better quality coffee and I have earned an extra income from it.

Samuel Waweru Kiigi


Volcafe Way Farmer since 2016

Farm: Waweru
Region:  Githunguri, Kiambu
Altitude: 1,716 M.A.S.L.
Farm size: 1.5 ha
Productivity: +12,5 %
Cost of production: -45 %
Part of ripe cherries: +4,7%

Marisa Huamán Aquino


Volcafe Way Farmer since 2014

Farm: San Carlos
Region: Chanchamayo, Junín
Altitude: 1,373M.A.S.L.
Farm size: 10.63 ha
Productivity: x3
Part of ripe cherries: +2.15%

Victalino Luis Castillo


Volcafe Way Farmer since 2017

Farm: Linda Vista
Region:  La Libertad, Huehuetenango
Altitude: 1,252 M.A.S.L.
Farm size: 2.45 ha
Productivity: +40 %
Cost of production: -35 %
Part of ripe cherries: +5.9%


Our projects combine economic efficiency and social responsibility that make a real impact in the coffee-producing communities. We do not only promote social projects, but also local and regional cooperations to overcome challenges and create value in the long-term.

Our project coffees allow to support targeted charitable causes with the purchase of each bag. From supporting a community, helping protect an endangered animal, or empowering women, our Project Coffees may be diverse, but always helpful and to the point. Discover our Project Coffees >

But more than words, our projects achieve measurable goals: 

65 active projects worldwide

With more than 65 active projects worldwide, we are living up to our responsibility and can report milestones such as:

  • 20 schools built or renovated in Colombia, Guatemala, Peru and Vietnam,
  • 45 solar drying systems for isolated families in Honduras,
  • A general medical check-up for more than 1,100 coffee farm workers in Huehuetenango, Guatemala,
  • Participation of 4,000 households in our savings program in Uganda,
  • more than 1.5 million coffee trees donated to farmers, enabling them to replace their older trees,
  • Reduced firewood consumption by coffee producers by 300% thanks to the construction of an energy-saving stove,
  • The replanting of 62,000 native trees on Colombian coffee farms,
  • Active gender equality programs in Uganda and Tanzania supporting thousands families


 ProjectsEducationCommunityEnvironment & Farming
China1  1
Colombia93 6
Costa Rica5 14
Honduras8 35
Papua New Guinea3  3
Peru1310 3
Tanzania7 16


Within the world of coffee there are many certifications that exist that can be confusing to both consumers, roasters and producers alike when trying to understand what their respective aims are or perhaps more crucially, how the funds generated by the certifying bodies are deployed to create impact. Some schemes address environmental concerns, whilst others focus more on socio-economic welfare, but all have their place and we at Volcafe Select are committed to endorsing most of the globally recognised seals such as RFA/UTZ, Organic and Fair Trade to ensure farmers are rewarded for their commitments.

Many of the farmers we are working with have implemented one or sometimes multiple certification schemes within their farming practices and we endorse their commitments by helping place these coffees with roasters who share their values.

However, it also important to recognise that many farmers do not have access to the necessary knowledge or resources to become certified, yet often employ equally aligned agronomic or socio-economic practices that are often harder to compensate for. Our role in the supply chain is to understand the needs of both sides of the supply chain so that we can continue to build better coffee businesses, together.