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ICO and SCA sign MoU to strengthen specialty coffee education

The joint commitment seeks to promote skills development across the entire coffee supply chain and increase the accessibility of specialty coffee globally

Yannis Apostolopoulos, CEO of the SCA (left), and Vanúsia Nogueira, Executive Director of the ICO (right) | Photo credit: ICO


The International Coffee Organization (ICO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) to boost specialty coffee sustainability and education.

In a joint press release, the ICO and SCA said the agreement will harness their combined outreach and expertise and enable better knowledge-sharing, education and capacity building.  

Under the MoU, signed at the ICO’s London headquarters on 1 December 2023, both organisations pledged to create training programmes and foster skill development across coffee production, trade, roasting, brewing and preparation methods. 

Additionally, the MoU outlines a joint commitment to increase visibility in global specialty coffee markets by empowering producer organisations to access specialty coffee and embrace higher-value trading models through the SCA’s Coffee Value Assessment. 

“Promoting comprehensive training is not just a necessity; it is one of the most important elements to fuel the future of the coffee sector. Education and skills development are the keys to unlocking the full potential of our industry, ensuring a robust foundation for sustainable growth, fostering innovation, and empowering every actor in the value chain, from bean to cup,” said Vanúsia Nogueira, Executive Director of the ICO. 

“Today’s signature marks a significant stride towards sustainability by creating new opportunities for knowledge transfer across the coffee sector. Collaborative and diverse approaches, like this partnership with the ICO, will play a crucial role in making the rewards of the specialty coffee segment accessible worldwide,” added Yannis Apostolopoulos, CEO, SCA. 

Established in 1963 following the five-year International Coffee Agreement of 1962, the ICO’s members represent 98% of all coffee producing nations and 67% of coffee consumption markets. 

Founded in 1982 as the Specialty Coffee Association of America, the SCA was formed when the non-profit trade organisation merged with the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe in January 2017. The SCA has more than 10,000 active members across over 40 countries. 

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