Organic Awareness Month - September 2020
As part of the Australian Organic Awareness Month this September, we take a closer look at one of Colombian Supply Partners
Based in Bogotá, Colombia, last month, Lohas Beans joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a
commitment to expand their operations by 60 percent, from 22 to 35 coffee grower associations and support them in acquiring organic certification by 2022. Their plan is to invest in training to improve production quality and guarantee a minimum monthly income increase for their partner small-scale growers.
The BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than USD$10 per day in purchasing power (in 2015 dollars) as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. The program is supported by several international organisations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Most of the 500,000 coffee growers in Colombia live on incomes that barely cover their production costs. Isolated farmers face economic barriers including unclear payment systems from purchasers, low international market prices, and a comparatively low rate of production for high-value specialty beans. Despite being the world’s third-largest producer of coffee, Colombia is ranked only 15th for organic coffee production. Lohas Beans purchases organic coffee directly from producer associations of small farmers, including associations of indigenous people and ex-guerrilla combatants who live in isolated regions with low income. Coffees that are certified as organic, Fairtrade, or Rainforest Alliance earn a premium over standard coffees in the marketplace. That’s why Lohas are committed to expanding the certified coffee trade to increase the financial benefit for low-income coffee growers. Their price mechanism also allows all members in the value chain to participate in the profits generated by these organic premiums. Lohas Beans pay their partner coffee growers a premium of 20 percent above domestic market price for certified organic coffees. In 2018, these premiums totalled more than $2 million. They are also committed to offering advance payments and empower producers to understand the market price dynamics for themselves.
Juan Pablo Campos, Founding Partner of Lohas Beans began operations in organic coffee when it was considered just a niche market. Today organic coffee is not just a niche, but a way of life, with high demand globally. Their position as the market leader of organic coffee in Colombia is key to continuing their growth and realising profits for their dedicated grower partners.
As the Lohas Beans network expands to 35 local coffee associations, they will place emphasis on empowering women in the industry. Men currently outnumber women nearly four to one in Colombian coffee cultivation. The encouragement of each new partner to become an associate will include new regulations that at least 30 percent of members must be women in the production chain to be eligible as a supplier. The focus on gender parity, fair pricing, and enhanced training opportunities for low income coffee growers demonstrates how inclusive business values can contribute to not only a better industry, but also to a better society.
About Lohas Beans: Since 2011, Lohas Beans has been Colombia’s leading player in the certified
specialty coffee export segment. Its supply base comprises 22 coffee associations representing 3,500 small-sized producers. Since its creation, Lohas Beans has established a business model that generates impact on the communities in which it works. Lohas Beans is a B-Corp certified company and has recently become a vehicle to realise co-investments of buyers and roasters in some projects designed to improve the quality of the coffee and the standard of living of the growers. Bennetts have been sourcing high quality sustainable coffee through Lohas Beans for nearly a decade and we continue to grow this partnership year on year.
About Business Call to Action (BCtA): Launched at the United Nations in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), UK Department for International Development (DFID), and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org for more information.