Sustainable Sourcing Practices
At S&D, we’ve created our own set of Sustainable Sourcing Principles — capturing growth and increased social, economic and environmental value by assuring capacity for consistent quality coffee, delivering meaningful economic benefit to producer partners, promoting best agricultural practices that preserve and build natural capital, and ensuring workers are treated fairly and are provided a safe and healthy work environment. Under our direct partnership and capacity-building programs, together with our implementing partners, we provide technical assistance and support to farmers to reduce cost of production, increase productivity and farm profitability (economic sustainability) and increase soil health and promote sustainable best agricultural practices (environmental and social sustainability).
In 2014, with our partners at ECOM Sustainable Management Services (SMS), we began working with a group of 300 farmers in the Antioquia region of Colombia to:
- Offer access to finance and credit for pre-harvest and production needs
- Provide technical assistance for improving farm management, raising farm profitability and integrating on-farm sustainable best practices
- Restore top soil, increasing organic matter, pH, mineral content and microbiology
- Promote gender diversity by ensuring a minimum of 50 women are included in the training program
This type of support and commitment is critical in a region that faces many sustainability challenges and provides much coffee to our supply chain. At the same time, current weather conditions have caused extreme forms of erosion and loss of topsoil. La Roya (coffee rust disease) and Broca (coffee berry borer) have exacerbated the issues. By helping farmers elevate productivity and lessen their reliance on chemical inputs, we can greatly impact earning potential, lower costs of production, and improve soil health.