The Coffee industry is facing risks in all sectors ranging from climate change to market pressures. In order for coffee to survive, everyone working in specialty coffee must embrace Sustainability as a core value.

SCA Sustainability provides students with a core understanding of sustainability generally, and more specifically what sustainability to the coffee value chain. Students will develop a common vocabulary and understanding of sustainability, with a focus on economics, the environment, social issues, and the connections between them.

Please email for course information and upcoming dates.


At the Foundation Level, students will learn the terminology that is key to understanding sustainability, review the history of sustainability in coffee, and explore key sustainability challenges at each step in coffee’s value chain. Students will begin exploring the complexity and trade-offs to current sustainability initiatives and practices, and access and understand tools available for those working in sustainability.

No matter where you work in coffee’s value chain, from coffee farmer to barista to each step in between, this course is designed for you. At the end of the course, you will be prepared to:

  • Understand the complex challenges related to sustainability
  • Identify some ways to best implement solutions
  • Articulate broad sustainability challenges at different points in the value chain
  • Discuss possibilities for sustainability solutions and best practices at various levels of the coffee value chain
  • Explain the trade-offs of different sustainability projects and practices.


The Intermediate course takes the broad concepts of sustainability introduced in Foundation and asks students to analyze and interpret a variety of unique sustainability projects. After completing the Intermediate level, you will be able to

  • articulate your unique ideas about defining and measuring sustainability and sustainable development in order to better understand and assess the major issues facing specialty coffee.
  • Gain exposure to different sustainability approaches in the value chain, with a firm grasp of the defining issues in at least two parts of the chain most relevant to the student
  • Have a more detailed understanding of collective action and what platforms exist to collaborate, leverage resources, and share results
  • Understand and be able to articulate how progress on sustainability initiatives is measured and defined in a variety of contexts
  • Be able to assess case studies and sustainability research
  • Develop a plan to move forward on a sustainability initiative within their own organization


The Professional Sustainability course is an intensive, practical, and hands on experience where you will design, implement, and assess a sustainability initiative of your own design, while keeping in mind the capabilities and missing of your organization. The Professional class is taught over a period of several months with in-class sessions (either online or face-to-face) where you are supported and mentored as you develop and carry out your projects. Once you earn your Sustainability Professional certification, you are better equipped to make educated choices about complex issues (and the costs and compromises). You will be a leader in Sustainability in coffee!

  • Identify measures of accountability and progress on a particular sustainability issue
  • Engage extensively with debates, policies, and practices of sustainability across multiple points of the value chain
  • Lead others in discussion and practice of these issues, and serve as a mentor for future students
  • Identify, develop, carry out, and assess a sustainability effort that fits within their organization’s capabilities, is measurable and trackable, has structures of accountability, and is critically reflexive about its successes and failures
  • Serve as an advocate for intelligent sustainability programming across the coffee industry by participating as a mentor to future students


Save significantly and sign up for the comprehensive 5-day SCA Intermediate Sustainability Skills Combo, consisting of:

  • Introduction to Coffee (1 day)
  • Sustainability Foundations (1 day, this course)
  • Sustainability Intermediate (3 days)


Introduction to Coffee (1 day): US$495

Sustainability Foundations (1 day): US$495

Sustainability Foundations with Introduction to Coffee (2 days): US$895

Sustainability Foundations +  Intermediate (4 days): US$1695

Introduction to Coffee + Sustainability Foundations + Intermediate (5 days): US$1995

All courses include lunches and lecture materials.


Our courses typically begin at 9 am each morning and finish each day between 5 and 7 pm depending on the progress of students in each course.


The course will be at the BOOT COFFEE CAMPUS at 619 Lindaro Street, San Rafael, CA (just north of San Francisco). Our instructors.

Hotel Information: Hotels in Marin County can be booked online.


All sales are final. Course fees are not refundable. If you need to cancel, course fees can be applied to future courses or another person can take your place. For all changes, we will charge a change fee of 25% of the course price. Changes are not possible less than 7 days before the course.