Building thriving and transparent coffee supply chains
As pioneers in specialty coffee, we have always believed that where your coffee comes from matters. This simple founding ethic still guides us today. But, it’s about more than just great tasting coffee. It’s also about fairness to farmers, healthy ecosystems, and prosperity for the people and communities who grow coffee. All three of these pillars carry equal weight in creating a truly sustainable cup. With an eye to the future, we developed and launched our Responsible Sourcing Initiative (RSI) in 2016. This tool helps us consistently track progress towards our sustainable coffee mission. What started as a pen and paper checklist is now a fully digital platform to evaluate our coffee supply chain in real time.
Allegro Coffee’s Responsible Sourcing Initiative
We believe that a transparent and thriving supply chain requires mutual trust. It also requires productive and honest conversations with our producers. Our RSI platform provides a neutral tool to facilitate these conversations. We want to work with producers that take pride in their product, acknowledge issues, and seek improvement. RSI helps to get us all on the same page, make a plan together, and provide continuous follow-up and feedback. With RSI, we look for measured improvement on our three pillars of sustainable coffee.
The Three Pillars of Sustainable Coffee
First, transparency and traceability create win-win partnerships with our producers. The more we share with our producers and the more they share with us, the better we can achieve our mutual goal of ensuring the farmer is paid fairly. This pillar encompasses discussions around the farmer’s cost of production, the price paid for green coffee, market trends, certifications like Organic or Fair Trade, etc. We work with producers who have an entrepreneurial spirit and create thriving and sustainable businesses. Producers whom we have long-term partnerships with can grow with us, through adding volume year over year. This creates stability in our coffee lineup, and most importantly, we can make larger impact at origin over time.
Next, the social pillar ensures that human rights are respected for all farm workers. We evaluate our producers against the IFC framework – a globally recognized benchmark for social sustainability. This review encompasses everything from ensuring our suppliers do not use forced labor to evaluating the housing conditions on farms. We only work with producers who respect individual freedoms and human rights.
Our last pillar, environmental, ensures our suppliers are being good stewards of the earth. The audit pulls from the foundations of good organic farming practices. We evaluate soil conservancy, ecosystem protection, wastewater treatments, policies for reducing air pollution, and more. Essentially, we want to work with producers who care about their land and are creating and maintaining biodiversity on their farm.
Tracking Impact with the RSI Platform
Our RSI platform facilitates more open communications with our partners. Above all, it helps us uncover challenges our farmers face, and we can all make informed decisions. We see coffee as a vehicle to impact small communities around the world. Our RSI platform tracks that impact and provides a holistic view. Ultimately, we want our customers to know that their coffee comes from producers who respect the environment, care about the people they work with, and are paid a fair price.