S&D Coffee & Tea Leads Sustainability Discussion with Stakeholders

A sustainable supply chain strategy is critical in order to thrive in the global coffee market. At the same time, current sustainable sourcing models demand origin stakeholders, including farmers, comply with strict standards. As part of S&D’s ongoing efforts to establish a resilient supply chain for coffee, S&D met last month with key stakeholders in Bogota, Colombia to introduce a new brand for the company’s sustainable sourcing platform:  Raíz Sustainability, rooted in impact.

Under the Raíz umbrella, S&D is developing an inclusive approach to deliver maximum impact at the farm level while engaging farmers in continuous improvement along a more sustainable path. One partner commented, “As best practices take root, impact grows.” (Read more about Raíz Sustainability on page six of our 2015 Corporate Social Responsibility report here.)

In Bogota, S&D’s sustainable sourcing team met for a full week with key industry leaders for collaborative discussion around a more comprehensive framework that integrates the origin perspectives. Objectives included sharing ideas, fostering collaboration, assessing progress of the technical assistance programs and gaining alignment around the 2016 and 2017 goals.

During these meetings, the S&D team and their partners shared progress on the following topics:

  • Verification Process: The new 2.0 S&D Guidelines include a set of indicators that provide verification and measure compliance on the social, environmental and economic aspects (with support from CI, Conservation International).
  • Technical Assistance: Origin partners presented tremendous progress on the technical capability for farmers to address gaps identified during the verification process and improve their onsite farming practices.
  • Project Performance Reporting: A set of tools were introduced to measure and report on performance and assess impact (with support from COSA, the Committee on Sustainability Assessment).

Integrating these steps with key allies contributes to S&D’s program assurance as well as our ability to communicate results at each level of the supply chain. A structured and aligned vision enables us to deliver real impact for farmers. Effectively measuring this impact also allows us to share key data with stakeholders around our focus areas:  increase productivity, decrease cost of production, enrich soil health, improve water management and provide continuous improvement.

Partners engaged with S&D’s Raíz Sustainability platform fully support the programs. Shauna Alexander Mohr, Sustainability Manager with Volcafe Ltd., states, “The alignment meetings with S&D provide a great opportunity for Volcafe’s Farmer Support teams to work collaboratively on shared supply chain goals. We discuss progress and identify new opportunities to deliver and measure positive results for producers, their communities and the entire supply chain.”

Conservation International agrees, “We have always been impressed by the level of engagement that S&D Coffee & Tea has with their suppliers on sustainability issues. It’s encouraging to see a prominent roaster in regular dialogue with their trade partners about ways to improve sustainability programs. This type of leadership is helping to ensure positive lasting impact for both the farming communities and the environment where S&D sources.”

Saurin Nanavati, COSA’s Director of Global Partnerships, participated in a Supply Chain stakeholder workshop with S&D sustainability team members and shared his enthusiasm, “S&D is using data to design targeted services and measure the impact of these services towards improving farmer livelihoods in terms of the economic, social and environmental conditions associated with growing coffee.  Most importantly, S&D is setting a new standard in the coffee sector for how roasters, exporters and farmers can create and measure shared value through data driven sustainability programs.”