Raíz Connect: Supporting Sustainability, Sharing Insights and Strengthening Partnerships

Six different countries: Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Peru.

16 fully engaged clusters.

20,350 hectares (more than 50,000 acres) receiving technical assistance.

4,500 coffee families – and over 15,000 individuals – impacted.

The work being done through Raíz Sustainability is far-reaching and has a significant impact on the industry. So, with such a large-scale program and significant amount of information and insights to share, how do we make sure stakeholders can connect and learn from each other?

The answer: Raíz Connect.

To be held July 13-14 in Medellin, Colombia, Raíz Connect — the first ever meeting of its kind — will bring together nearly 50 active contributors to S&D’s Raíz Sustainability program from across the globe.

Raíz Connect event agenda

Over the course of the two-day event, participants will share impact results, discuss strategy, receive progress updates and collect valuable feedback to allow for continued growth and improvement of the program.

In addition to insights from Raíz partners, such as ECOM, Mercon, Olam and Volcafe, speakers from leading conservation and sustainability organizations will be addressing key issues in the industry and providing expert perspectives.

The event’s keynote speaker is Kim Elena Ionescu, Chief Sustainability Officer with the Specialty Coffee Association, who will discuss “The Future of Sustainability.”

Other speakers include representatives from:

Conservation International (CI)

For nearly 30 years, CI has been protecting nature — with interventions across 77 countries they have helped safeguard more than 601 million hectares of land, marine and coastal areas. S&D is proud to continue our four year partnership with this credible organization that elevates our Raíz Sustainability platform above the industry best practices around sustainability. CI will provide an overview of the 2016 audit results for Raíz, along with a guideline for future goals.

Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA)

Like S&D’s Raíz program, COSA is rooted in an unwavering commitment to making impact, enabling healthy lives on a healthy planet. S&D engaged with COSA to expand reporting protocols with a performance monitoring system that evaluates our impact on productivity, farmer livelihoods and the environment. COSA’s monitoring and evaluation session will address the Performance Metrics Review.

Supply Shift

Recognizing that spreadsheets are not enough, in 2016 S&D partnered with SupplyShift, the industry leader in data management. Their fully engaged data network enables more efficient management of our programs allowing data to become intelligence which directs action for measurable impact. SupplyShift will discuss utilizing data management on the path to continuous improvement.

About Raíz Sustainability

S&D is fully committed to a thriving supply chain for coffee and tea through our sustainable sourcing program, Raíz Sustainability. Rooted in impact, Raíz is unique in that it offers an inclusive approach to small and medium sized farmers. It delivers immediate impact, providing a continuous path toward long-term sustainability through measurable improvement over time.

There are three impact areas that make up the Raíz framework:

  • Social. Enriching farmers – Ensuring that our coffee and tea partners are thriving strengthens entire communities and secures our business foundation.
  • Environmental. Preserving the environment – Clean water and healthy, fertile soil yield the best crops while nurturing environmental stewardship at the source.
  • Economic. Investing in the future of coffee & tea – An assured supply and predictable pricing create lasting value throughout the entire chain.

Currently, there are six key focus areas within this framework:

  • Increase productivity
  • Decrease cost of production
  • Improve water management
  • Enhance soil health
  • Forest conservation
  • Fair labor practices

Success stories from origin

In addition to the overarching impact of the program, Raíz Sustainability has made a difference in the lives of individual farming families. Here are a few of their stories:

Francisco Hidalgo – Santa Lucia, Costa Rica

As one of the first participants in Raíz, Francisco was drawn by the program’s commitment to forest conservation. His 8-hectare farm, El Recreo, is exceptional in that fully 50% is dedicated to protecting nature. One idea that Francisco has adapted directly from the Raíz program is the planting of hedges as natural barriers. These hedges protect living areas as well as water sources from chemical spray.

Additionally, Raíz agronomists have helped him identify alternate crops that are compatible with coffee to both feed his family and also increase coffee productivity.

Maura Andrea Herrera – Jinotega, Nicaragua

After the sudden death of her husband, Maura Andrea had to take control of both the family (four small children) and the farm (17 manzanas). With greater visibility than most women in the coffee business, she makes the decisions about what practices to implement, manages the farm labor and keeps detailed records.

In just two years, productivity has increased 150% through agricultural best practices learned from the Raíz program: better fertilization, soil management and proper pruning. Maura Andrea’s eldest child is now in university, and the farm is debt-free and thriving.


We will be sharing highlights from Raíz Connect on our social media channels — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram — be sure to follow along and use the hashtag #raizconnect to join the conversation!