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Social responsibility and the coffee industry

At DRWakefield, we care enormously about the wellbeing of our green coffee farmers, wherever they are based in the world – in fact, this is at the forefront of everything we do and why we take such a great interest and an active role in social responsibility.

But what exactly does this involve?

Here, we’re going to discuss the importance of social responsibility in the global coffee industry, how this has developed over the years and what role we play in the cause.

What is social responsibility?

Social responsibility is the belief that people or businesses should adopt an ethical and sensitive approach to those who may be affected by cultural, economical or environmental issues.

For instance, in the coffee industry, this could mean supporting people in remote farming communities, or ensuring the processes bean growers are using are as ecological as possible in order to protect their surrounding environment, as well as their health.

Social responsibility involves much more than just donating money to overseas locations though – it is all about being there for the people, who we wouldn’t be able to sell quality coffee without.

What role does it play in the global coffee industry?

In the coffee world, there are many ways in which traders and roasters can get involved with social responsibility, with arguably one of the most well-known ones being to stock FairTrade beans.

This mark ensures that at least 25 per cent of the premium paid for the coffee goes back to the farmers, meaning they can invest in improving the quality of their crop and therefore its cupping profile.

Research from the FairTrade Foundation shows that 89 per cent of consumers trust the FairTrade mark when they see it on a product, thereby allowing them to get involved in a socially responsible approach to coffee as well.

But what about lesser known ways to adopt such a stance on coffee?

There are many charities working to improve conditions for farmers, one of which is the Cafe Femenino Foundation. This cause focuses specifically on helping female coffee growers and their communities and has assisted in improving everything from their domestic ventilation systems to their eyesight – check out our video to find out more.

This is just one of many organisations working to change things for the better for coffee producers and there are of course much wider attempts going on around the world as well.

For example, developments in sustainable practices have helped to improve working conditions for coffee farmers, while also providing them with a greater sense of security about their role.

In addition, the increasing number of smallholders working with cooperatives has led to many positive changes. Without a strong management structure, farmers working on micro lots may struggle to market and sell their produce, but by joining forces with a cooperative, they are given support with this.

Exporters or managers from the cooperative will work with traders like us at DRWakefield to ensure deals are done professionally and the farmers receive the fairest price possible for their work.

DRWakefield’s commitment to the cause

Here at DRWakefield, we are 100 per cent committed to improving the social conditions of our coffee farmers around the world.

We make regular visits to origin countries to build and maintain relationships with exporters and farmers, taking the business we do with them to a much more personal level.

In addition, we were the very first independent importer in our sector to fight to gain a FairTrade licence, making sure that coffee growers are paid a fair price for their produce.

We were also given the Rainforest Alliance’s Corporate Green Globe Award back in 2003, while today, we work with charities in the sector to promote better conditions and a fairer system for our coffee farmers.