July 28, 2016

Here’s Why People Are Voting Yes to SCAE/SCAA Unification


It’s less than two weeks until voting closes on the SCAE/SCAA unification vote. For SCAA members who are undecided, we know that it’s a difficult decision. But that doesn’t mean you should skip voting – or make an uniformed choice. Because this vote has the potential to have huge positive impact on everyone in coffee: producers, roasters, baristas, and consumers.

What Are the Pros and Cons?

The pros: The two bodies could work together instead of competing for resources and finances. The global impact of the SCAA/SCAE, with events, standardized training programmes, and certification all over the world, would be increased. This would lead to increased financial benefits and resources for members. There would also be a 50-50 balance between the two original bodies for the first five years.

The cons: A bigger organisation may lead to more bureaucracy, and there may be language barriers. There have also been concerns voiced about Brexit, but an analysis of the receipts and payments indicates that the SCAE (and, by extension, the SCAA if unification goes ahead) may actually benefit financially from Brexit.

For more information on the pros and cons, go here.

Why Does the Barista Guild Support Unification?

We thought we should let you hear why people are voting yes in their own words. Here’s a video featuring members of the Barista Guild:


As Laila Willbur, Chair of the Barista Guild Executive Council, says:

“We are the future of specialty coffee and we think a vote for unification is giving voice to the future. That unifying with the SCAE will allow for those voices to be amplified, reaching further and with greater impact.”

Andrew Hetzel, who is on the SCAA board, also shared with us his thoughts on why both the Barista Guild and the Roaster Guild will benefit from SCAA/SCAE unification:

“When members vote to approve unification, they are also voting to amend the membership categories that provide voting rights for Barista Guild and Roasters Guild members. This means that our most active members… arguably the future of the specialty coffee industry, will have a voice in the governance of our association.”

Why Does the Sustainability Council Support Unification?

There are also benefits for producers. For the Sustainability Council, voting yes will empower coffee-farming communities by allowing the two bodies to work, united, against issues at origin. They say:

“These sustainability challenges are not unique to specific market regions. They are not unique to specific coffee producing regions. Challenges such as climate change, gender inequality, labor shortages, and human rights abuses not only affect coffee farming communities, but also the future of specialty coffee, globally. They bind all of us working in the specialty coffee industry together.”

Find out more about their reasons in this short-and-sweet clip:

Feature photo credit: SCAA