IWCA Establishes Strategic Partnerships to Empower Women in Global Coffee Supply Chain

IWCA Establishes Strategic Partnerships to Empower Women in Global Coffee Supply Chain

Copper Moon Coffee seeks to improve the world by assisting global partners in their ongoing sustainability efforts. To facilitate this assistance, we created a coffee sourcing and support program, SEE Copper Moon Rising™. The “SEE” stands for three pillars of sustainable impact: (S) Social, (E) Economic, and (E) Environmental. Within our “Social” mission, we work to support inclusion by empowering women farmworkers and fostering their well-being and dignity through long-term relationships.

We fulfill this mission through our sustaining partnership with the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA). Founded twenty years ago, the IWCA is a USA-based mission-centered nonprofit that empowers women in the international coffee community to achieve meaningful and sustainable lives by encouraging and recognizing participation in all aspects of the coffee industry. As a global network of 29 independent, self-governing chapters on every continent (see map below), they currently represent close to 15,000 members worldwide. The IWCA primarily focuses on the unique local needs of each chapter by empowering women through leadership development, strategic partnerships, and amplified market visibility in the global coffee supply chain.

3 Ways the IWCA Empowers Women

In their 2021 Annual Report, the IWCA shared how they continue establishing like-minded agreements with international, multi-stakeholder organizations to unify their activities and provide more significant opportunities to promote and empower women in coffee. Three of the socioeconomic, globally impacting campaigns the IWCA is currently partnering with are:

  1. Cup of Excellence—Alliance for Coffee Excellence
  2. Coffee Public-Private Task Force—International Coffee Organization
  3. Vision Zero Fund—International Labour Organization

ACE Cup of Excellence

In 2021, IWCA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) and their prestigious, annual global cupping competition. For over 20 years, ACE has been providing a transparent global auction platform called the Cup of Excellence (CoE) to help award-winning, exemplary coffee farmers realize the actual financial value of their coffee. Coffee prices from these auctions have produced a return multiple times greater than the traditional method of selling. The auctions build a bridge between premium coffee buyers and high-quality farmers of every gender and size.

Established by ACE in 1999, the CoE is a rigorous, three-stage cupping contest held across several countries that pioneers a level of integrity, transparency, and scrutiny unmatched in the industry. The coffee is cupped by national and international juries, with 300 entries typically yielding an average of 9,000 analyzed cups. Their “Top 10” coffees are cupped at least 120 times! This process ensures that only elite top-quality, consistent coffees enter the CoE auction. And now, with their IWCA collaboration, ACE will provide cupping training, educational programs, and projects designed to advance the technical skills and sensory education of IWCA chapters. Providing access to these tools and training will help build sustainable income for women producers, ultimately creating healthier coffee communities.

ICO Coffee Public-Private Task Force

In 2019, the International Coffee Organization (ICO) established the Coffee Public-Private Task Force (CPPTF) to reduce poverty sustainably in coffee-producing, developing countries. As a Task Force Member, the IWCA participates in establishing “Living Income Benchmarks” and implementing “Living-Prosperous Income” projects to identify, close, and surpass the “Living Income Gap” and ensure sustainably sourced coffee. The ICO created the following “Roadmap” to achieve its commitments and establish technical workstreams for sustainability.


To celebrate International Coffee Day, the ICO shines a spotlight on the plight of millions of coffee farmers around the world who deserve to receive a living income. Watch their “Anthem for International Coffee Day” and listen to the life and sounds of coffee to see what it takes to create the beans that go into every cup of coffee we drink each day.

ILO Vision Zero Fund

IWCA also established a collaborative partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) to create a safer, more sustainable coffee supply chain for women in the international coffee community. The ILO is the only three-party (tripartite) UN agency that gives workers, employers, and governments an equal voice and representation.

Each morning, somewhere in the world, 1,000 people leave home for work and don’t come back. As a result, 6,500 people die globally every day from work-related tragedies. Many involve people in the global coffee supply chain. They need safe, healthy workplaces, and the ILO’s Vision Zero Fund is the catalyst working to improve health and safety around the world.

Engaging with the Vision Zero Fund provides IWCA chapters with valuable opportunities to attend technical training and improve their occupational health and safety knowledge. In November 2021, ILO published its first case study to include feedback from the IWCA. Their collaboration with the Vision Zero Fund is helping to identify critical information gaps, especially concerning the health and safety of women farmworkers.

We SEE Copper Moon Rising

After a global pandemic and growing challenges in the coffee community, many organizations are struggling. But we proudly partner with the IWCA as they address those challenges with hope, equipping their 29 chapters to persevere and overcome. Their partnerships with the Cup of Excellence and the Coffee Public-Private Task Force are bridging the “Living Income Gap” and helping to overcome poverty. Likewise, the Vision Zero Fund is actively reducing the number of workplace-related tragedies. With every bag of Copper Moon Coffee, you are supporting these socioeconomic success stories together with the IWCA.