From the Stage to Round Table Discussions: Insights from Raíz Connect

Following the first World Coffee Producers Forum hosted in Medellin, Colombia, by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, S&D’s sustainable sourcing team held its first-ever supply chain summit, Raíz Connect.

The event brought 50 active implementers of S&D’s Sustainable Sourcing Platform — Raíz Sustainability — under the same roof. Commercial managers along with agronomy teams from each of our projects throughout the Americas came together in Colombia to share impact results, review progress updates and collect valuable feedback. The outcomes from the event will allow for continued growth and improvement of our Raíz platform for the next three years.

The day started with the official release of S&D’s Raíz Sustainability film, which features many success stories and highlights the positive effect that Raíz is having on the social, environmental and economic impact areas.

The film was followed by an excellent presentation from our keynote speaker, Kim Elena Ionescu, chief sustainability officer from the Specialty Coffee Association. She stressed that sustainability is a complex issue with many questions and few answers, “Sometimes it’s very difficult to achieve sustainability goals, but it’s always worth the effort.”

Bringing our supply chain partners together and engaging in an open and transparent discussion is indeed one of the best ways to deliver feasible and impactful solutions for our supply chain. As Kim Elena commented, “Working together improves the whole production because we can do much more as a group than each of us by ourselves.”

One of the primary objectives for Raíz Connect was to foster sharing of best practices among our supply chain partners. Attendees benefitted from partner presentations about farm cost management and data analytics, giving further visibility to and understanding of the economic situation of our farming communities in Colombia.

By bringing our partners from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Peru all together, we encourage an environment where pre-competitive collaboration thrives. We shared ideas, validated concepts and exchanged perspectives on how to address challenges of coffee farming, such as market volatility and adaptation to climate change.

The main idea of Raíz Connect was to do exactly that, connect. And that objective was achieved. All of our supply chain partners connected in person, privately and during the workshops, alongside S&D’s sustainable sourcing team and our platform partners such as Conservation International, COSA and Supply Shift. Our supply chain partners were able to put a face to a name or email address and valued the time that we all devoted to making this a priority.

After a full day of presentations and many insightful questions and discussions, our partners left with a solid sense of where our Raíz platform is headed. They understood how to help S&D, its farming communities and its customers to thrive all while improving farmer profitability and caring for the environment.

Learn more about S&D’s work to prioritize responsibility and sustainability.