Social Project Coffee is our response to the problem of transparency and accountability within the coffee industry.
We were early adopters of the Fair Trade coffee purchasing model, but we soon recognized that its impact did not go as deeply as we wanted it to.
Under Fair Trade and Direct Trade’s models, there is no guarantee that the money coffee drinkers spend actually makes it to the farm workers that do the hard work of picking coffee everyday. Farm workers are by far the most vulnerable in the coffee supply chain, facing daily challenges including, but not limited to, poor housing and limited access to clean water. We recognized the problems in these purchasing models, and developed Social Project Coffee.
We build a direct relationship directly with coffee producers, both purchasing coffee from them and working together on a joint development project that benefits their workers or their communities. Our projects to date have ranged from housing reconstruction, girl’s empowerment, and clean water access. It’s hard work, but we want to foster change within the coffee industry that will make it a truly beneficial enterprise.
What is Social Project Coffee?
Social Project Coffee is coffee that is sourced based on a direct relationship between purchaser and farmer/producer where: 1) the purchaser pays a premium price for coffee, 2) together, the purchaser and farmer/producer use the premium to implement a project development project at origin, 3) the project benefits either the farm workers or a nearby community.
For a long time now, the specialty coffee industry has acknowledged that the coffee supply chain can be exploitative of producers, and has slowly moved towards fixing this issue.
Fair trade made the amazing first step of ensuring that a fair portion of the money consumers pay for coffee actually makes it to the coffee producing countries. Direct trade takes it a step further, paying a higher price to the farm owner. Social Project Coffee is the third step on this journey towards a truly ethical and equitable coffee supply chain; by including a mandatory development project in the coffee buying relationship, we have ensured that both farm owners and farm workers benefit every time we pour a cup of coffee.