Telling the RAÍZ Story at SINTERCAFE

In November 2016, S&D was invited to present our sustainable sourcing platform at SINTERCAFE – International Coffee Week for their 30th anniversary event. SINTERCAFE was founded in 1987 as a non-profit organization to promote Costa Rica’s specialty coffee. SINTERCAFE is a well-recognized coffee industry event that sees worldwide participation from all stakeholders in the supply chain. In 2016, SINTERCAFE had more than 500 attendees, and S&D had the opportunity to present its innovative sustainable sourcing platform, RAÍZ, for the first time in public.

S&D has been carefully structuring its sustainable platform for coffee, since 2012 with couple of pilot programs in a few origins in Latin America. S&D explored diverse approaches, finding that in order to respond to current and future needs it was key to develop resilient supply chains for coffee and tea. A sustainable supply chain is critical to the future of these global markets. That’s why RAÍZ Sustainability is rooted in impact — in fact the Spanish word “raíz” literally translates to “root.”

After two years of full implementation of RAÍZ for our coffee sourcing (2015 and 2016), S&D decided to share insights and lessons learned publicly at SINTERCAFE 2016. Today, RAÍZ has 17 Clusters (a Cluster is a group of between 50 and 600 farmers) in six different countries (Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Guatemala). As of today RAÍZ has impacted 4,100 coffee families and over 15,000 individuals in those coffee communities.

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RAÍZ investments in the coffee supply chain include an economic premium for farmers as well as technical assistance that support best agricultural practices, profitability and farm management tools. Over a period of three years, RAÍZ’s intention is to support families to manage their farms as a business and to develop better decision making process that will allow farmers to be more efficient, to allocate their resources properly and to identify risks and opportunities.

We see this as a combination of efforts to build capacity at origin, as well as support communities toward a journey of enhanced sustainable production. Those initiatives complement the ongoing technical assistance activities designed to tackle the most pressing challenges for each particular communities. All of these efforts are possible with the KEY support from our local partners: the cooperatives, exporters and importers that implement RAÍZ successfully.

2017 will be a remarkable year for RAÍZ — it is the last year in our first three-year implementation plan, and it will be a year of full implementation of our KPI (Key Performance Indicators) impact tool, where we will capture metrics and valuable data that will allow us to determine our return on investment, as well as our real impact delivered to farmers under RAÍZ key impact areas:

  • Farm productivity and profitability
  • Soil health
  • Water management
  • Increased forestation and/or shade and bio-diversity

Investing in a long-term sustainability is not only a risk management tool; it can also drive innovation and deliver real impact at the farm level and lead to redesigned products to meet environmental standards or social needs for our customers and our final coffee consumers; more importantly, sustainability allows us to create better business opportunities for coffee farmers.

If you want to see the RAÍZ presentation at SINTERCAFE, please check out this link.