Coffee is part of a typical morning, brewed and poured without a second thought. But who actually made your coffee? Where did it come from? Sustainable Harvest believes in the importance of these questions. An importer of fair trade, organic coffee, this B Corp leads the industry with their groundbreaking Relationship Coffee Model approach to supply chains.
Sustainable Harvest imports one in every five cups of fair trade coffee, delivering unroasted beans to roasters across the nation. Since the organizations birth, 14 years ago, they have worked to transform commodity supply chain interactions. Their model is based on relationships between the various parties along the supply chain. Traditional supply chains are often obscure and inequitable. Sustainable Harvest removes the mystery and connects every piece, bringing together farmers, roasters, banks and NGOs annually. This allows for open negotiations which ensure the best outcome for all parties involved.
In addition to increasing communication, Sustainable Harvest uses their profits to invest in farmers. Utilizing five training centers, this B Corp helps growers perform better and access markets. This not only creates a social good but enhances quality and consistency. The result: better coffee and better prices which continue to help famers.
With a business model built on transparency, Sustainable Harvest was a natural fit for B Certification. After hearing B Lab founder Bart Houlihan discuss the B Corp concept, President David Griswold felt an instant connection with his own beliefs. Griswold was working to change the very DNA of his company and had seen many organizations lose their mission after being bought. By joining the B Corp community, Sustainable Harvest has accessed a wide network of experience and knowledge. They also uphold their commitment to third party certification, whether it be for the coffee or themselves. Through the audit and certification process, the organization has been able to stretch its policies and thinking, ensuring they have the best practices possible. Sustainable Harvest not only imports fair trade coffee, but is a “fair trade” company itself.
Coffee will always be an important part of daily life, no matter the circumstances. Thankfully Sustainable Harvest will ensure we keep drinking great coffee that betters growers’ lives. They continue to perfect their own supply chain, developing a cloud application to connect every actor, from the farmer to the consumer. It may soon be possible to know exactly who is behind your cup. With so much success, Sustainable Harvest will also be sharing their methods with other companies and industries. It is important to know the farmer behind your fork and the Relationship Model will hopefully spread throughout the globe. Now that is some good coffee.
Better Know your coffee and Better Know this B!
photo credit: Sustainable Harvest
by Katie Kerr, B Lab
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