Discussion Group Sustainable Cacao & Coffee

  • 22 November 2021
  • 16:00
  • Online
  • Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology, Environmental Life Sciences, Social Sciences & Economics


Flyer session 22 November 2021

22 November 2021

Marieke (Marieke Sassen | LinkedIn) works at the Plant Science group at WUR and is amongst others involved in the CocoaSoils project (Marieke Sassen (Ph.D.) – CocoaSoils). Additionally, she works as a Senior Technical Specialist Biodiversity and Agriculture at UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (Cambridge). In general, her research is at the science-policy interface and focuses on indicators and management of biodiversity, for example in relation to deforestation and cacao. Her research consists of understanding sustainability in terms of (1) systems and risks, e.g. ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes and (2) spatial analysis. Cacao (and coffee) are systems that allow for translating and connecting different scales. For example, large-scale global efforts of biodiversity loss reduction should somehow be coupled to on-farm practices on cacao or coffee farms. Join us to learn more about Marieke’s work and about sustainability in cacao and coffee from new perspectives. We will prepare some questions and you can bring your own, and then we let the conversation flow to whatever comes up.


Cacao and coffee are globalized commodities produced in many places around the world. The sustainability of the production systems in terms of people, planet and profit is threatened along the value chain from bean to end product by various developments (e.g. from climate change to changing food safety standards).

Multiple research projects are underway that aim to create a sustainable future for cacao and coffee. Reflecting science in general, the work is increasingly done in interdisciplinary settings. This discussion group is meant for all PhD Candidates and Post-Docs that are interested in broadening their understanding of cacao and coffee value chains, and is broadly meant to:

  • explore the width of scientific research in cacao and coffee value chains
  • gain inspiration from peers on making an impact with your research
  • expand your network outside your chair group


Cacao and coffee are interesting to discuss because they are studied from a wide variety of academic disciplines at multiple spatial and temporal scales, and they are produced in a wide variety of environmental, cultural and socioeconomic contexts. Joining the Sustainable Cacao and Coffee discussion group is interesting because:

  • It is a platform that will be truly inter-disciplinary; you will broaden your horizon and learn to appreciate the complexity of the bean-to-beverage system and the wickedness inherent in designing sustainable futures.
  • The context-dependency of cacao and coffee production and research demands that we think about how to communicate about our knowledge, how we engage in knowledge dissemination. In short: how we make an impact with our work.


We aim to have monthly or bi-monthly meetings of 1.5 hours (for now virtually)

  • You as a participant can determine the topic. Perhaps you want to present your proposal or talk about a recent development that sparks your interest
  • We will invite guest speakers on a variety of topics to stimulate discussions
  • Participation in the discussion group can be part of your Training & Supervision Plan
  • Together we will produce an output to communicate about our sessions with others, such as a newsletter, recorded conversations or a blog.



Flyers former sessions

Flyer session 8 October 2021