Illycaffè: coffee from Ethiopia at risk with the new European rules

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Among the projects announced yesterday by Prime Minister Meloni, the one dedicated to Ethiopia concerns precisely the theme of environmental recovery, “with water restoration interventions – we read in the Government document – also through training and technical support to local universities”. Meloni also underlined the creation of a new “financial instrument” of the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti to facilitate private sector financing.

illycaffè does not import the raw material only from Ethiopia: «For 90 years – says Scocchia – we have been putting on the market a blend whose recipe is as secret as that of Coca Cola. The Horn of Africa is not the only area of ​​the world from which we source.” To date, however, it is the only country with which it has problems in complying with the new EU rules: «In Brazil, for example – explains the CEO – everything has been ready for some time. The habit of not producing by deforesting new land is already a practice, the audits that certify plantations have existed for some time, just as the country has long drawn up a black list of producers who do not comply with the regulations and from whom we do not obtain supplies. In situations like these, applying the new EU regulation does not entail any additional costs for us.”

Not all countries have the same capacity for change, and in Ethiopia there is also an ongoing conflict that makes everything more difficult. illycaffé, however, wants to do things in order: «We are not interested in obtaining a piece of paper at any cost – says Scocchia – for the certifications we want certain and verifiable sources, otherwise we cannot put our face to it. We are interested in a real sustainability policy, not greenwashing.”

By raising the alarm, illycaffè wants to be the spokesperson for all those companies that are encountering difficulties in complying with the EU regulation on deforestation, which in addition to coffee concerns cocoa, oil palm, rubber, soya, wood , cattle and all products derived from them, for example leather or chocolate. Approved last June, the regulation will take effect from 1 January 2025, i.e. in less than a year.

«We are the first Italian importer of coffee from Ethiopia – recalls Cristina Scocchia – we have been working in the country for forty years and we have also opened a coffee university that helps Ethiopian farmers. This is why we have decided to become spokespersons for the issue. We believe it is a problem of competitiveness of Made in Italy, which today is at risk.”

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