Challenge the status quo.
Coffee is one of the most traded commodities in the world. When an industry is built on providing convenience and comfort to its consumers, we have a responsibility to question its sustainability and transparency.
It is estimated that 400 billion cups are consumed every year. Yet, as sociocultural and ecological anthropologist Catherine Tucker wrote, coffee drinkers consume coffee "without ever having to think about how the drink reached their hands".
We have to bridge this knowledge gap, because coffee farmers are not compensated enough for their time and effort.
The Bitter Truth
We all love the rich, flavourful taste of coffee; but can we swallow the truth that comes with it?
Farmers are not earning enough money to make a living, let alone sustain their operations. The average coffee production costs are higher than what they make by selling it. Your daily dose of caffeine pays less than 2 cents back to the farmer. How do we expect farmers to make a living under these conditions?
Coffee prices have been unsustainable for a very long time. We need to let everyone know this is not viable in the long run.
From seed to cup, the coffee passes through many hands in the supply chain. One reason farmers receive so little from their hard work is because all the players in the supply chain need to make a profit. At each step, a portion of the profit is extracted, leaving little to nothing for farmers in the end. An approach to solving this problem is the direct trade model.
Direct trade is when you buy coffee straight from the farmers, cutting out the middlemen buyers, sellers and the organizations that control certifications. We use this approach as much as possible via our green coffee purchasing company, WE THE ORIGIN. This allows us to build relationships with farmers based on trust and ongoing communication.
We have also introduced Transparent Origin coffee, where we clearly display the price paid to coffee producers on each bag of coffee.
We go beyond fair trade. With coffee prices hovering around US$1 per pound in the market, farmers are losing money. If average production costs are US$1.05-US$1.40 per pound, how do we expect coffee producers to make a living? We are committed to ensuring they are paid fairly so that they can generate a profit from coffee production.