RGE Camp: "Green Buying Ethics" | Panel Discussion
For those of you joining us primarily from the interwebs, our June releases may seem to be the last portion of a recent (inadvertent) series of talks, interviews, and discussions which deep dive into “green buying”. In reality, the panel discussions we’ll be sharing this week and a fortnight from today were the first that we organised and presented to a live audience as the second day of afternoon lectures at the first-ever Roaster Guild of Europe Camp last October.
Featuring a panel of Raphael Studer (Algrano), Sara Morrocchi (Vuna Origin Consulting), and Joanna Alm (Drop Coffee Roasters), Steve lead an open discussion that sought to pick through the ethical considerations at play when purchasing green coffee for a specialty coffee business, from a high level (origin country politics, human rights, climate change) to the farm level (wages/treatment of staff, the use of the “premium”, relationships and trust) and everything in between. Together, they share stories of unethical or questionably ethical purchasing and follow up with some actionable suggestions for those who wish to aim for a more ethical purchase.
As we prepared for this panel, the importance of a story – and its subsequent verification – appeared again and again in the context of coffee purchase, both green and brewed forms. To put this idea to the test, we asked the audience assess coffees once split into two groups: those assessing blind and those provided with information and backstory. Things didn’t quite go to plan logistically on a number of levels, so we 100% would not advocate these results to be indicative of correlation – let alone causation! In fact, we're pretty sure that these are nothing but some numbers on a page, but we promised to release the data.
Either way, we hope it provides you with some food for thought as you make your own buying decisions.
PHOTO BY JORDAN SANCHEZ FOR ROASTER GUILD OF EUROPE
Joanna Alm | Drop Coffee
Joanna Alm is from Dalarna in the north of Sweden. She ran a coffee bar in Oslo for a few years, moved home to Sweden, and started working at Drop in 2010. A few years ago, Joanna became partner in the company and is now the CEO, head roaster, and green coffee buyer at Drop Coffee. She’s a three-time winner of the Swedish Roasting Championship (2014-2016) who has placed consistently in the final four at the World Roasting Championships during her time as Swedish Champion.
Joanna is also known for her passion for coffee education and community, participating as a speaker, panellist, lecturer, and attendee at coffee events worldwide both as Drop Coffee’s Head Roaster and as a working group member of the Roaster Guild of Europe.
Sara Morrocchi | Vuna Origin Consulting
Born in Italy and educated in the UK, Sara found her path in the specialty coffee sector in various roles since 2007. A social scientist by training, she began working as a development worker in Kenya in early 2000s, and started to grow an interest in ways to grow and strengthen rural supply chains in East Africa. She began working as East Africa supply chain manager for Sustainable Harvest in 2007. This role would keep her working in Tanzania for the next four years. Later, she moved to headquarters in Portland, OR heading up the Global Procurement and Supply Chain management team for 4 years.
Sara has recently moved to Amsterdam to start her Vuna Origin Consulting, specialized in supply chain strategies and product development in green coffee and cacao. The perfect mix of origin travel, suppliers’ relationships and tropical products makes her work extremely exciting. She is passionate about creating long-term sustainable solutions to empower and incentivize supply chain actors in collaborative ways.
Raphael Studer | Algrano
Raphael Studer is a Swiss economist and entrepreneur. During his PhD Raphael researched the statistical measurement and modelling of human well-being. He has working experience in the fields of international business development, sustainability consulting and energy trading. Two years ago, Raphael co-founded algrano.com, the B2B online marketplace for green speciality coffee. algrano allows access to roasters and producers only and brokers logistic, financial and quality services on a cost plus margin basis transparently. algrano was awarded by the Startup Brasil and Startup Chile programs, as well as by the SCAE. Raphael lived in the Brazilian coffee fields and met producers and roasters all over the world. He understands the chances, wishes, but also problems of the new generation of coffee producers. Motivated by the vision that efficient and scalable tools of communication will transform agricultural supply chains, Raphael focuses today on the spread of algrano.
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