Building Stronger Communities Through Agricultural Standards
The Green Mountain Coffee® brand is proud to embrace Fair Trade as an integral part of the brand and continues to drive awareness and sales of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee throughout the United States. Thanks to the growth of our Green Mountain Coffee® brand, and the transition of our Nantucket Blend® coffee to Fair Trade Certified™, Keurig Green Mountain was recognized by Fair Trade USA as the largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee in the world for calendar years 2010, 2011, and 2012. Since we began our involvement with Fair Trade organizations in 2000, we have delivered more than $22 million in community development premium funds to coffee farmers through our Fair Trade Certified™ coffee purchases.
These purchases make a great difference in coffee-growing regions around the world. During calendar year 2012, Keurig Green Mountain’s purchases of almost 50 million pounds of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee delivered more than $9.9 million in premiums to these communities. These premiums were spent on projects that improved business operations for these farmers; provided improved access to food, clean water, and education; and helped reduce the environmental impacts of coffee farming.
For example, in Indonesia, the Tunas Indah Coffee Farmers Cooperative has put their Fair Trade premiums to work by providing members with professional trainings to help increase coffee production and quality, distributing new varieties of coffee plants, and delivering food staples to families.
In La Florida, Peru, the Cooperativa Agraria Cafetalera put its premiums to work by investing in an expansion of and regular maintenance for its mills and drying stations, as well as providing 900 members of the cooperative with labor and materials to install or improve bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms in their homes.
And in Huatusco, Mexico, the local cooperative of small coffee producers used their Fair Trade premiums to invest in coffee rust prevention workshops, training and supplies for community health workers, and reducing the water used by the cooperative to process coffee.
In addition to Fair Trade, we also embrace other coffee certifications, including Rainforest Alliance and USDA Organic (for more, see the Field Guide to Coffee Certifications and Our Consumers sections).
We are steadily increasing the amount of certified coffees we purchase. In fiscal 2013, we saw a number of coffee-buying trends continue. We purchased a greater amount of coffee — more than 215 million pounds in fiscal 2013, up from about 206 million pounds in fiscal 2012. As we grew our purchases, we also increased the amount of Fair Trade certified and Fair Trade Organic certified coffees we purchased.
We also saw an increase in the amount of coffee in our Farm Identified program. The Farm Identified program is based on the simple principle that when we know who grows our coffee, we have the potential for a long-term relationship where we can work with the grower to achieve our sustainability targets. In fiscal 2012, 47% of our coffee pounds were Farm Identified; in fiscal 2013, that number grew to 68%, which includes the 31% of total pounds purchased that are externally certified. Our future plans include achieving 100% Farm Identified purchases by the end of 2016.
Expanding Our Work Beyond Coffee Communities
At Keurig Green Mountain, we are building a more diverse portfolio of beverages to offer to our consumers. As we expand beyond the coffee-growing communities where we have worked for years, we are also expanding our engagement efforts in new parts of the world.
While we work to trace the source of our products, we are learning about the overarching issues that impact the farmers of these diverse crops. For African cocoa farmers, for example, lack of infrastructure and a largely unorganized pool of small farmers make traceability and large-scale sustainability investments difficult. During 2014, we will explore ways we can use collaboration to engage in the issues facing the cocoa farmers in our supply chain.
Keurig Green Mountain is also an active member of the Sustainable Food Lab, a consortium of business, nonprofit, and public organizations dedicated to creating market-based solutions to economic and environmental challenges that farm communities face. In fiscal 2013, we joined the Food Lab’s advisory board and have participated in forums on sustainable sugar and cocoa production to learn more about the complexities of producing these crops, what challenges these farmers face, and if there are solutions that Keurig Green Mountain and our partners can help support.