We are a coffee company. We promote sustainable agroforestry practices that provide viable business oportunities for smallholder farmers.
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.
Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Location(s) of impact
States: Oaxaca, Chiapas, Veracruz, Michoacan
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
We are a specialty coffee company based in Mexico City committed to acting with integrity throughout the productivity chain. We source all of our coffee from Mexico's diverse climates and ecosystems. Coffee as an agricultural practice has historically had poor yields and significant risk for smallholders in economy, health, soil, and the continuation to younger generations. We are committed to reversing this dynamic. Targeting this problem is quintessential to our mission, to share "café rico".
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
Always start with the consumer. The solution must start with creating a high quality product that performs well in the marketplace. It's from this economic gain that we can invest in proper agricultural practices, infrastructure, and offer high value market access. We work hard to understand the local needs of each producer group, and set high standards for the quality of coffee we work with and the agricultural practices followed. These practices have a holistic approach as they inherently impact society, health and economy. It is through this work that we are able to pay producers exponentially above market value for their product over long term relationships, making them shareholders in our mutual success and changing the basic economic model of smallholder coffee farming. The most promising aspect is the creation of coffee farms as viable rural businesses resulting in healthier soil, healthier communities, and healthier business for the long term in our country.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
We have been doing this work for 5 years now. So far we have worked with over 150 small holders that produce over 30,000KG of green coffee per year. We are still a small company, and have slow market growth to ensure customer loyalty, the quality of product and service these systems require. But 5 years in we are having profound ecological (about 300 hectares reverting to productive healthy soil), social (creating viable businesses that promote economic growth in rural communities and stops emigration of younger potential farmers) and spiritual impact (we believe consuming products that come from integrity and that are clean are medicine for the soul). By creating high value market access for coffee farms based on agroforestry principles, we have been able to partner in keeping the crucial ecosystem services these farms provide intact. Paying high and stable prices allows us to reduce risk and volatility for what has traditionally been a very unstable market for smallholder farmers.
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
This initiative has been supported by earned income and debt. We operate as a "for-profit" because it keeps us on our toes. It makes us have to face the realities of the marketplace now, which we believe is important as a way to influence other companies to "hop on board" for the change that's needed. But to call it a "for-profit" business reduces our intention to making profit our purpose. It is far from that. Profit is a rule for us; it is necessary to have more revenue than expenses if we are to continue! But our purpose is to offer "lives filled with learning, health, community and spirituality. We envision a world where companies act with integrity at every obstacle and opportunity they face. A world that is inclusive and conscious that we are all here together."
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
Many companies are entering the world of coffee claiming to do direct trade work and paying for organic and fair trade premiums. These certifications have not changed their standards at the speed at which we are seeing degradation (economic, social, ecologic) happening. We have a team of experts that set our own standards based on our partner's context. The most innovative thing we do is being constantly vulnerable. It is a difficult thing to chart a course that you navigate seemingly alone.
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
The right set of circumstances seemed to align (don't they always?). One of us had worked in coffee, we had all grown up in a coffee producing country, and we all had this sensation that to "just take a job" wasn't enough. We all tried, it didn't feel right. Over beers we said..."what if we could promote sound agricultural practices, create amazing products that healed, and run a business the way we think it should be run?" So we started. Through the years we've learned how important the work we do is. For our team, for their families, for our community, our country, our world. Everyday poses a new and seemingly impossible challenge, but with them come more fulfilling opportunities. 5 years later we have a growing business that makes our team, our customers and our purveyors happy and proud. We hope we can do it for another 100.
Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?
Upon recommendation from others