Advice and answers from the Dispatch team
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Dispatch is a social enterprise. In our company, impact management is an ongoing practice of measurement and improvement, reducing the negative and increasing the positive. We support the priorities of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and share the view that businesses have a role to play in implementing solutions to our world's most pressing crises. Many of these global crises intersect with the global coffee industry and supply chains.
When answering questions about impact, we believe it is important to define terminology, as "responsibility", “ethics” and “sustainability” can be interpreted in many ways. This enables us to build consensus as a team, and those sharing data with us across our supply chain, as well as with you, our customers.
We consider impact across many spheres in our supply chain, from coffee purchasing, to our employer policies and company culture, all the way to packaging and distribution.
We are working to make our organizational impacts more transparent and measurable in 2021. For now you can visit our website page that outlines our responsible purchasing practice and ways in which we work to reduce our environmental footprint.
Our vision of responsible sourcing includes, but is not limited to certifications. Approximately 15% of the past 40 coffees we have purchased or contracted as of December 2020 in 2019-2020 were certified Fair Trade Certified.
Our vision of responsible sourcing includes certifications, but is not limited to coffees that have them. Certified coffees can contribute to the development of a sustainable industry, but they are not the only solution. Some certified coffees focus on ensuring environmentally friendly farming, while others address the social wellbeing of farmers and farming communities, or guarantee a minimum price paid to producers.
Fair trade coffees focus on the latter, as well as connecting farmers to wider markets for their coffees, as well as training and development programs that support farmers’ agency and profitability. Fair trade certification evolved as a way to pay farmers a guaranteed minimum price for a pound of coffee at a premium above the commodities price. Traditionally, commodities pricing is extremely volatile and low (below the costs of production for most smallholder farmers). Though an incredible initiative and organization, fair trade minimum pricing cannot reduce all threats to our industry’s sustainability or the wellbeing of farmers. This is why we do not limit our responsible sourcing decisions to just one certification. Fair Trade guarantees that a cooperative is paid at least $1.40 USD per pound for their coffee. This number is only relative to what the average farmer in a given co-op will earn above their fixed and variable farming costs. Our average FOB* price to date, for coffees where this data was possible to collect, is $2.62/LB USD. The past five year average commercial price for a pound of coffee is $1.19/LB USD.According to a study conducted by Fair Trade USA and Cornell University, “The Cost of Financially Sustainable Coffee Production in Latin America”, cost of production for a ~1.6 - 5.3 hectare farm ranged from $0.88 USD to $1.75 USD per pound, which means that coffee producers can still earn less than their operating costs, even in a Fair Trade certified supply chain.