MONDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2016
In June I attended the World Of Coffee in Dublin, which is the yearly meeting from the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE). No need to say it was an amazing event where I got to know many interesting coffee related organizations, especially in the Sustainability Forum. One of them was Sustainable Harvest.
They are a coffee importer from over 15 countries around the World and started the Relationship Coffee Model with the aim to create a closer connection between farmers and consumers. They sell coffee throughout North America to specialty coffee roasters and mainstream markets.
Sustainable Harvest also has a longstanding connection to the communities from which they source coffee and a multi-cultural team of 31 staff representing five offices around the world. Their staff works closely with co-op leaders and farmers to bring technology and traceability systems to the farm level, partnering with coffee growers during cultivation, harvest, processing, and transport of coffee. They also implement sustainable projects in Origin countries and their work impacts over 200,000 farmers across Latin America and East Africa.
At the event I talked with Manuel Camacho, their Sales Team Representative in Europe and later I asked him a few questions (below):
How do you select the regions or projects that the company will develop?
We have a mixture of approaches, depends on what is going on in the value chain. For example, in Mexico Roya affected a lot of communities so we have a Project to help farmers implement practices to avoid it.
Are the projects developed between Sustainable Harvest and Cooperatives or sometimes direct with farmers?
The projects are developed and implemented through our Origin Offices.
Why did you decide to help farmers get Q grader certification?
That came from the necessity of producers to talk about sensory characteristics of the coffee, such as the flavor and also from the fact that we consider them business partners.
What is the status of the company?
Social enterprise. We are a B corporation, sometimes self funded but also in collaboration with buyers.
What do you think about the certifications in terms of improving livelihoods?
We have a good relationship with all certifiers, mostly fair-trade and organic and we believe on their job. For us they are very important but they also have to do more in order to increase demand for certified coffee.
What do you think is the most important development strategy for the coffee chain?
The more you are able to show the producer how broad is the value chain, best for him so I would say the most important is Access to information for farmers.
How do you assure fair prices and access to market for producers?
Usually our clients are already willing to pay a better price for coffee since they know how we work and they want to invest on the production of these coffees. We try to shorten the value chain.
They have projects related to:
- Water Management
- Quality Control
- Biodiversity Protection
- Food Security
- Farm Productivity
- Mobile Technology
- Strengthening Value Chains
- Empowering Women in Need With Knowledge and Skills
ItCafé began as a Coffee brand and transformed into a forum for sharing research and experiences related to coffee and especially sustainability in the Coffee Supply Chain.