[E]arlier this month, the largest coffee and tea manufacturer and supplier to restaurants and convenience stores in America, S&D Coffee & Tea hosted Raìz Connect in Medellin, Colombia. Raìz Connect is an event that brought together nearly fifty supply chain partners from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Peru to help build the foundation for the next three year cycle of work with the partners.
The event’s keynote speaker, Kim Elena Ionescu, chief sustainability officer with the Specialty Coffee Association discussed the future of sustainability and emphasized the importance of connections within the industry, saying that “there isn’t any coffee farm apart from the environment; it’s all about the connection. Working together improves the whole production, we can do much more in groups than each of us by ourselves.”
As part of the event’s workshop discussions, attendees came together in groups to brainstorm solutions around farm productivity, water management, generational takeover, farmer profitability, and climate change.
Attendees left the event with ways to promote sustainability such as the idea that developing programs to specialize technicians and establishing internships in different countries would help increase the amount of information and sharing of best practices around productivity.
Sustainability is a complex issue, but according to attendee David Piza, “connecting to our supply chain partners and engaging in an open and transparent discussion is one of the best ways to discover applicable short- and long-term solutions.”
S&D is fully committed to a thriving supply chain for coffee and tea through its sustainable sourcing platform, Raíz Sustainability. Rooted in impact, Raíz is unique in that it offers an inclusive approach to small- and medium-sized farmers. The program delivers immediate impact, providing a continuous path toward long-term sustainability through measurable improvement over time in three impact areas: social, environmental and economic.
—Rachel Sandstrom Morrison is Fresh Cup‘s associate editor.