Strauss Coffee Partners with Sustainable Harvest, Relationship Coffee Institute to Impact Women Growers in Colombia

Strauss Coffee, one of the world’s largest coffee com- panies, has partnered with Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers and the Relationship Coffee Institute to introduce an innovative incentive program for women coffee farmers in Colombia.
The move builds on Strauss Coffee’s commitment in early 2017 to a long-term partnership with women-led coffee-producing organizations around the world. Strauss will commit financial sup- port for initiatives to improve coffee quality of women’s groups through infrastructure develop- ment, equipment purchasing and training.
“Research has shown us that women are responsible for over 70 percent of the work in the global coffee market, yet they often own about 15 percent of the land, mills and actual product,” says Orr Rachlevsky, Strauss’ director of strategy and projects. “Women are the driving force behind families and communities—investing in women is the best investment we can make.” Currently, Strauss Coffee supports projects in Honduras, DR Congo, Vietnam and El-Salvador.
In the three-year project in Colombia, Strauss Coffee will work with a 300-member women’s or- ganization that is part of the Coocentral cooperative in the Huila Department. Strauss will impact the women through Premium Sharing Rewards, an incentive program that helps farmers master training to increase productivity and quality.
“We see this partnership with Strauss as a great opportunity for our women’s program to contin- ue to improve the quality of our coffee and our livelihoods,” says Dora Mora, member and leader of the Coocentral women’s program.
Premium Sharing Rewards was developed by Sustainable Harvest, which has a long history of working with cooperatives that put women in positions of leadership and decision-making. Sus- tainable Harvest’s sister organization, the nonprofit Relationship Coffee Institute—under the support and funding of Bloomberg Philanthropies—successfully piloted Premium Sharing Re- wards with two Rwandan women’s cooperatives in 2015. The partnership with Strauss Coffee will further refine the Premium Sharing Rewards model by testing it in a Latin American context.
“This partnership shows a commitment from Strauss Coffee, the Relationship Coffee Institute and Sustainable Harvest to tackle gender inequality with innovative models that can scale im- pact,” says David Griswold, founder and CEO of Sustainable Harvest. “Together we aim to cre- ate meaningful training programs to improve quality and productivity, with creative short-term incentives designed to bridge the seasonal gap before the new, longer-term market solutions take hold.”
To date, Sustainable Harvest’s impact in coffee-producing communities has included:
Unlocking women’s potential in Rwanda. Sustainable Harvest and Bloomberg Philanthropies partnered to create the Relationship Coffee Institute in 2013 to provide training and market ac- cess to rural women coffee farmers in Rwanda. In its first three years, RCI enrolled over 4,000 Rwandan women, increasing their productivity by 86 percent and income from coffee by 137 percent.
Building new markets for women coffee growers. In 2002, Sustainable Harvest collaborated with the Nicaraguan SOPPEXCCA cooperative to create the first brand of women-grown coffee in specialty coffee called Las Hermanas. Since then Sustainable Harvest has expand its women’s coffee program to nine countries, and since 2003 has purchased 6.3 million pounds of coffee produced by women. In 2015, the company sourced nearly 1 million pounds of women- grown coffee for the industry’s top roasters and retailers.
Improving livelihoods of smallholder coffee farmers. Since its founding in 1997, Sustainable Harvest has partnered with over 200,000 smallholder farmers, helping them gain access to premium markets and increased incomes. The company’s Relationship Coffee business model has helped foster direct relationships between coffee buyers and coffee producers for more than two decades.
About Strauss Coffee
Strauss Coffee is an international coffee company, amongst the 10 largest coffee companies in the world with a turnover in excess of $1 billion p.a. The company invests in and develops local coffee brands that are leaders in diverse markets—Brazil, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Russia, Ukraine and Israel. The company has 14 production sites worldwide and employs some 7,500 people. Strauss Coffee is committed to promoting the global coffee culture among its consumers around the world, fueled by a genuine passion for coffee and coffee products.
About Coocentral
Coocentral is a coffee-growing cooperative in the Huila Department of south-central Colombia that finds global coffee markets for over 35 million pounds of green coffee from its 3,483 small- holder members. Coocentral’s Café Mujeres (Women’s Coffee) program encompasses 300 women coffee growers in the Huila municipalities of Garzón, Pital and El Agrado.
About the Relationship Coffee Institute
Founded through a partnership between Sustainable Harvest® Coffee Importers and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Relationship Coffee Institute is dedicated to improving the lives of women coffee farmers through training and market access.
About Sustainable Harvest® Coffee Importers
Sustainable Harvest is a specialty coffee importer whose mission is to improve the livelihoods of coffee-farming families around the globe. Since its founding in 1997, the company has partnered with over 200,000 smallholder farmers, helping them gain access to premium markets and increased incomes. Sustainable Harvest’s relationship-based model delivers the world’s finest, most responsibly sourced coffees to leading brands. This innovative approach creates shared value throughout the supply chain, and led the G20 to recognize the company with an award for Inclusive Business in 2012. In 2015, Sustainable Harvest, a Certified B Corporation, was honored by B Lab as a Best for the World company. Headquartered in Portland, OR, the company has offices in Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Rwanda.

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