S&D Coffee & Tea, the largest coffee and tea manufacturer and supplier to restaurants and convenience stores in America, recently hosted Raíz Connect — the first ever meeting of its kind. The event brought together nearly 50 active supply chain partners from across the Americas (Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Peru) who have helped make S&D’s Raíz Sustainability platform a success.
Held July 13-14 in Medellin, Colombia, event participants shared impact results, discussed strategy, received progress reports and collected valuable feedback for continued growth and improved performance of the program.
In addition to updates from Raíz partners, such as ECOM, Mercon, Olam and Volcafe, speakers from leading conservation and sustainability organizations addressed key issues in the industry and provided expert perspectives.
The event’s keynote speaker, Kim Elena Ionescu, chief sustainability officer with the Specialty Coffee Association, discussed “The Future of Sustainability” and shared her insights on the topic, “Sometimes it’s very difficult to achieve sustainability goals, but it’s always worth it.”
Other speakers included representatives from Conservation International, the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) and Supply Shift.
As part of the day’s workshop discussions, Raíz Connect participants brainstormed solutions around five key topics: farm productivity, water management, generational takeover, farmer profitability and climate change. Ideas generated through this workshop included using pilot coffee farms exploring plant diversity to improve production, increasing education and technology to encourage youth and promoting diversification on coffee farms for added earnings.
“With over 4,000 coffee families and more than 15,000 individuals impacted over the last four years, the work being done through Raíz Sustainability is far-reaching and has a significant impact on the value chain,” said David Piza, director of corporate social responsibility and sustainability with S&D. “In order to share the valuable insights gained and lessons learned through the continuous improvement process of the program, it was important for us to connect the various stakeholders, giving them an opportunity to share best practices and learn from each other. Raíz Connect enabled us to do just that.”
S&D is fully committed to a thriving supply chain for coffee and tea through its sustainable sourcing platform, Raíz Sustainability. Rooted in impact, Raíz is unique in that it offers an inclusive approach to small- and medium-sized farmers. The program delivers immediate impact, providing a continuous path toward long-term sustainability through measurable improvement over time in three impact areas: social, environmental and economic.