The impacts of coffee sustainability certification on smallholders

Crawford School of Public Policy
Photo by Pxfuel

Event details

ACDE Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 19 April 2022


Weston Theatre and Zoom


Russell Toth, University of Sydney

Hybrid event - Zoom link available on registration.

Sustainability programs cover a substantial share of the global production of agricultural commodities such as coffee, impacting millions of smallholder farmers in lower-income countries. We evaluate the rollout of a coffee sustainability program involving two leading third-party standards, over 7 years in a remote area of Sumatra, Indonesia, implemented by an international exporter. We employ complementary quasi-experimental and randomized control trial designs to evaluate the impacts of a baseline sustainability program launched in 2012, and an enhanced program offered to a randomly-selected subset of participating farmer groups in 2015. We find that the program leads to overall improvements in income and reductions in poverty, through a number of channels including farm and labour practices, and prices, in conjunction with increased hours worked on- and off-farm. Conditional on participation in the baseline program, impacts of the enhanced program are relatively insignificant, with the detectable impacts mixed. We also uncover a number of important heterogenous impacts of the programs.

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