Category: Farmer Organizations

A (coffee-focused) David Letterman mash-up

Tonight is the last broadcast of the Late Show with David Letterman.  In homage to his 33 years on the air, I offer this coffee-focused mash-up of the venerable “Top 10 List” and the comparatively lesser-known sketch “Is this anything?” The first needs no introduction; the second featured oddball performances by guests, then banter between […]

413. Farmworkers and Fair Trade

In May, researchers at the Fairtrade, Employment and Poverty Reduction program at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London released a report based on four years of intensive field research in Ethiopia an Uganda whose findings were critical of Fair Trade’s record on farmworkers.   I only just got around to reading the full […]

395. Root Capital responds to Coffeelands coverage

Last month the pioneering fincial services provider Root Capital published an issue brief showing that its investment in social and environmental due diligence has generated financial returns by helping it avoid bad loans and make good ones.  It was so rich with insight that I felt compelled to publish three separate posts on the brief […]

394. From due diligence to performance management

This week I am writing about a Root Capital issue brief that describes how the pioneering social lender is using information on the social and environmental performance of its clients to improve its own financial performance.  In the foreword, Root calls for the creation of a community of practice among financial institutions committed to marrying social and […]

393. What we miss when we take care of the business

Root Capital’s issue brief on social and environmental due diligence is lousy with insight.  But one phrase in particular jumped off the page for me: the one in which it notes that lenders “typically interact only with the business.” I think the same can be fairly said of most of the supply chain actors downstream […]

392. Root Capital doing business unconventionally, again.

Root Capital is the most important organization in the coffee trade that most coffee drinkers have never heard of.  The commercial finance it extends to coffee cooperatives in the “missing middle” of credit markets makes the trade work for smallholders; its innovations in financial advisory services, internal credit funds, clean technology and income diversification are […]

374. Five survival strategies for smallholders

Two weeks ago, I suggested that the coffee business is broken and that we need to take extraordinary measures to fix it: create alternative pricing mechanisms, build a permanent institution to foster cross-sector collaboration and send explorers to the frontiers of coffee to search for new insights.  We have our work cut out for us, […]

369. Epilogue

The CRS Coffeelands Blog published perspectives from the intersection of coffee and international development from 2009-2013. We launched the blog because we believe that despite a quarter-century of investment and innovation to get closer to the source of our coffee, “there are still real opportunities for discovery and growth in terms of our understanding of […]

360. Coffee rust: It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine

With apologies to my doppelganger Michael Stipe for the title of this post, I cannot get this R.E.M. lyric out of my head after huddling in El Salvador for a week with colleagues from Central America to plan a response to the coffee rust epidemic. During the final day of the First International Coffee Rust […]