At Impact Roasters, we believe that trade models can bring change to the local communities in which our coffee is grown. Our fight for sustainability and ethical business isn’t just limited to the coffee beans we roast, but also applies to our business model.From the very beginning, we looked to adopt an ethical and sustainable trade model that would bring change to the local communities from which we buy our coffee. We soon realized the existing ethical trade models, such as Fairtrade, don’t work in Ethiopia.
Indeed, the coffee farms we work with are too small to benefit from these certifications because they can’t afford the cost – mostly investments needed to comply with their standards.
“In Ethiopia, many of the ‘fair trade’ models do not really work. The coffee farms are too small to benefit from simply having coffee bought at a fair price – to really have the impact you need to look beyond that transaction.”
Besides, these ethical trade models have other weaknesses, such as a restricted market for certified coffee and being consumer-led – meaning that it all depends on if the consumers are actually buying the coffee. That is why we developed another approach called the Impact Trade model.
Why is it different from other ethical trade models?
We buy coffee directly to small farmers
There is no intermediary: the farmers can earn more and we can talk to them and ensure the quality of the beans. This direct trade also allows us to build a real relationship/project together: they tell us their needs, we tell them about the reception of their coffee in Denmark.
We invest a part of our profits to the local communities
This is a crucial difference because we’re not only paying a fair price to the farmers. We also aim to empower the local communities through project development.
Our model is called Impact Trade because our goal is to have a concrete, lasting, and direct impact:
• We invest in local projects related to education and youth development that will have a long-term impact and foster development in those communities.
• We empower the local communities which lead these projects. The locals know best what they need, and we also know our investments are useful and impactful.
• We try to establish business models with social, sustainable, and ethical values at their core and hope other businesses will join the movement towards a better coffee industry.
We believe that companies have a role to play in our society to make a difference and have a lasting impact. Together, we can bring change and build a more sustainable, ethical society.
And sometimes, it starts with something as simple as a cup of coffee.