In 1996, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) organized and hosted the first Sustainable Coffee Congress.
The 3-day Sustainable Coffee Congress brought together 270 people from 19 different countries. Attendees represented the whole value chain of the coffee industry, including Starbucks, the Specialty Coffee Association of America, USAID, coffee researchers, producers, importers and roasters.
In 1997, SMBC introduced the world’s first and only 100% shade-grown coffee designation in 1996: Bird Friendly® Coffee.
With this pioneering program that focuses on small producers with organic certification—and many who are Fair Trade certified as well—Bird Friendly coffee supports fair and stable prices for coffee producers, healthy environments for communities, greater biodiversity and protection for bird habitats, and equal access to markets for Bird Friendly coffee producers.