Our ethical stance.

Our social and environmental footprint, lets tell it to you straight:

We are often asked by our customers if the coffee we sell is certified, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, organic etc. We are also asked if our products are packaged in recyclable or biodegradable packaging. We love responding to these questions personally, however, being sat in front of a keyboard answering queries is time we’d rather spend working on life changing projects, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to spill the beans with you…

Are we a charity?

No, we are not a charity, NGO or not-for-profit organisation. We’re a small UK based, for-profit business that believes in sharing these profits with the families and communities that grow our coffee. We believe that doing good is good for business, where commerce can be a driver for change. We have no external shareholders to answer to, no investors or consultants to pay and no debt…we set our jib and sail our own course.

Do we work with Fairtrade?

Yes, we proudly work with Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance Association and UTZ, supporting three projects around the coffee belt. The Cerrado region, in southwestern Minas Gerais, Brazil, best known for its homogeneous climate and altitude. The Kambata region of Ethiopia, which is known for the production of not only coffee but ginger too with our coffee coming from the Sidamo and Wolyata region, and most proudly in Vietnam, where the purchasing of our coffee has helped the farmers from the area to set up the producer group, Cudliemnong. The cooperative received Fairtrade Certification in 2009 and currently has 84 members.

Our own farm. The Muchomba Project - Kenya .

This award winning, groundbreaking project was set up as a commercial joint venture with Paddy & Scott’s and a Kenyan smallholding coffee farm headed by George and Issac Muchomba back in 2017. We were shocked by how little money the small holder coffee families of East Africa actually received for their crop; sometimes as little at 1.5 cents per cup, and wanted to create a simplified supply chain that shared the retail margin (what the consumer actually pays for a cup of coffee in a coffee shop) with the community that grows the coffee. Since 2017 the project has expanded to produce enough coffee to fill over 1m cups per year. The proceeds of the sale of this coffee has helped build a school, provide fresh running water, washing and sanitation facilities. We have also helped build a commercially viable supply chain that ensures Issac Muchomba’s children can carry on making a living from growing coffee for many years to come. Currently, our farm project produces approx 10% of the coffee we need to supply our customers, we’re working on making that 100%.

Is your farm accredited?

No, we created the project and didn’t feel we needed to pay for external accreditation, which is expensive and bureaucratic (well someone’s got to pay for all those people and consultants who run these global organisations). We prefer to make decisions with the family, decide on what projects we’re going to fund, when and where. We believe the management of the project is best suited by our partners that live within the community.

Don’t just take our word for it, what does the world think of our project?

In 2020 the ITC - International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations commissioned a 48 page report: “Better returns for East African coffee producers” which highlighted our findings of how little money East African farmers actually receive for their crop. Having followed and investigated the project for several months the Paddy & Scott’s Muchomba Farm was highlighted by the ITC as:

“Trading coffee directly with the Muchomba family allows Paddy & Scott's to reduce the supply chain and support the farm and local community directly.”
“The entrepreneurial genius in this example was associating consumers directly with the source, inviting them to be partners, to be part of the story, to visit the farm and see first-hand how their coffee is grown. The partnership has also financed the rehabilitation of a local school, a benefit to the whole community”

“The company invests heavily in the Muchomba farm’s infrastructure and agronomy to ensure that coffee is being used as a vehicle for social impact. Paddy & Scott’s are committed to pay above market price for their crop and enjoy an agreement that guarantees the coffee produced by George and his team will go to a good home”

“Paddy and Scotts pays the equivalent of $6/kg plus a premium. This is substantially higher than the 2018/19 average main-grade price of $4.70/kg published by the Nairobi Coffee Exchange”

Yeah, it would be cheaper and much easier for us to just sit on our backsides and pay an accreditation organisation for a sticker to go on our bags. Then we could walk around acting all sanctimonious, with that ‘aren’t we amazing swagger’…but we thought you deserve better than that. In 2019 our founder and CEO was awarded an honorary fellowship from the UOS for this ground breaking work in both the UK and Africa.

Is our packaging recyclable and compostable?

Since 2004 all our coffee packaging has been made from aluminium free PET recyclable material (please recycle this in the correct facilities). Our paper cups are compostable, our lids are made from corn starch and our coffee bags are made from compostable potato starch. Even our business cards are made from recycled crew t-shirts. However, we’re still not satisfied and continually look at ways we can reduce our use of single-use plastic and reduce our CO2 emissions, we’re not completely there yet but we’re getting pretty damn close. We genuinely believe we’re here for a good time, not a long time….

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