Category: Farmer Organizations

Report from East Africa – Coffee origins with enormous potential (and enormous challenges)

My fellow blog authors and I are very self-aware of Coffeelands’ biases. It is told from a (mostly) white male development professional’s perspective from Latin American origins. However, this bias is not reflective of the global reach of CRS’ coffee programming. In addition to our five active coffee projects in Latin America, we currently have […]

Inconceivable!

In my family, the 1987 film “The Princess Bride” is something of a tradition. I showed it to our kids early (perhaps too early for the younger ones) and we watch it often. For better or worse, references to its many memorable lines now punctuate conversations in our house. But there is one trope in […]

How can we encourage direct investment at the base of the coffee supply chain?

2015-06-08 Comments

Hugh and I are in the Netherlands, where we are getting ready to participate in the Sustainable Food Lab Summit, a meeting that gathers together different stakeholders in supply chains and facilitates a great discussion about finding solutions to ensure the future of our global supply chains. It is against this backdrop that I start […]

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 […]