As consumers and companies tighten their belts and reorganize priorities in the face of economic uncertainty, the sustainability movement is in jeopardy of losing momentum and not realizing the return on decades of investments. In the coffee sector, we are witnessing a perfect storm for farming families:
When stories of deforestation, hunger or forced labor on coffee farms are reported,we shouldn’t be surprised - we can’t expect coffee farmers to keep paying the sustainability bill when they are barely surviving. Now that markets are slowly re-opening, this is the ideal moment to consider how to develop value chains that reward sustainability. What might this look like? How can we encourage new forms of collaboration and innovation to ensure sustainability is an integral part of economic recovery?
Apple’s iconic “Think Different” campaign celebrated original thinkers and symbolized a call for disruption in the tech space. With “Drink Different” we want to playfully echo this ambition in the coffee sector. Over the coming weeks, we will highlight 5 IDEAS to illustrate how sustainability can create a better end-to-end coffee experience.
1. Identity – A sustainability identity is an invaluable asset to attract and galvanize employees, value chain partners and customers towards a shared goal. A clear set of sustainability values can guide investments, partnerships, services and communications to position your organization as an inspiring brand ambassador that authentically cares about and supports key social and environmental issues.
2. Design – Sustainability strengthens R&D.Utilizing structured design approaches can help integrate trade, technology and training to demonstrate how coffee can be a powerful tool to empower people and protect ecosystems. Applying systems thinking approaches can foster innovation through mapping the interconnectedness among places, people, processes, and products to minimize externalities and maximize positive impacts.
3. Engagement – Coffee is the product of relationships. Each relationship is key for the success of a supply chain. Engaging all stakeholders and creating a collective narrative will allow everyone to take ownership and pride in their role towards achieving a sustainability mission.
4. Alignment – There are a number of initiatives that are scaling partial solutions and focusing solely on their piece of the value chain puzzle. Organizations that understand how to align their sustainability initiatives with partners create a “Collaborative Advantage”, enhancing the holistic impact of their interventions and providing opportunities to leverage investments.
5. Sustainability Flavors – What does sustainability taste like to you? The simple act of drinking coffee can be a form of activism, an opportunity to support what you care about. We will explore ways to experience sustainability in a similar way as we have learned to define coffee flavor profiles and attributes.
This is meant as a campaign and invitation to rethink coffee. Over the next weeks we will be sharing our thoughts and vision in different blogs and webinars, please follow us on LinkedIn to stay connected. Also reach out to us if you are interested in discussing your sustainability IDEAS.