In 2014, our parent company, Volcafe, undertook a two-year initiative to research and develop a global approach to sustainably sourcing high-quality coffees. We drew on the expertise of our field teams, pooling their collective knowledge and experience, to document best-practice strategies at origins. We then developed a farmer support organization to provide direct technical assistance to producers, helping them to improve — and to continually improve — their coffee quality, farm productivity and yields. We named this new sustainable sourcing strategy the Volcafe Way.
Volcafe Way is now active in Africa, Asia and Latin America. More than a sustainability strategy, it’s the way we do business. We take a “root cause, root solution” approach, working directly with coffee farmers to assist and train them in sustainable production techniques and good agronomy practices, as well as in making the best uses of their land for future generations.
Our farmer support teams help producers to manage risks, improve outcomes, gather data and focus on measurable results that our green-buyer customers can monitor and verify. One of our flagship training methods is creating “business-model farms,” which provide local learning hubs where surrounding communities can exchange best practices so that they all learn and benefit — whether they work directly with us or not.
So, when folks ask us whether our coffees are part of certification programs that ensure a fair price at the end, our answer is that they’re so much more. We not only pay fair prices for green coffee, but in more than 20,000 instances we work with the producers year-round, ensuring that theirs farms are profitable and have sustainable business plans in place — setting up their success for years to come — and that, of course, each harvest is of the highest quality, so the producers can demand the best prices.