What is Social Project Coffee?
Social Project Coffee is coffee that is sourced based on a direct relationship between purchaser and farmer/producer where:
the purchaser pays a premium price for coffee
together purchaser and farmer/producer use the premium to implement a development project at origin
the project benefits either (a) farm workers or (b) the nearby community.
Social Project Coffee is the sourcing model for Think Coffee, which has implemented projects related to feminine hygiene, adult literacy, medical care, reforestation, and housing restoration.
How is social project coffee different from direct trade and other sourcing models?
Under a Direct Trade model, a premium price is paid directly to farmers who grow high quality coffee. In coffee growing regions, however, the people who often struggle most with basic needs (e.g. housing, healthcare, food) are not the farmers themselves, who generally own significant amounts of land and are among the wealthiest members of the community. Under a Direct Trade model, there is no requirement (or evidence) that workers or the community share in the benefits of the premium price.
Similarly, under a Fair Trade model, there is little evidence to suggest that workers or the community are benefiting from the premium price paid to coffee cooperatives. To read more about the debate on Fair Trade, click here.
On the other hand, the Social Project Coffee sourcing model provides specific, tangible benefits to farm workers or the local community. When the houses of farm workers are rebuilt, there can be little doubt that farm workers are benefitting. When women and girls are provided with feminine hygiene products otherwise unavailable to them, there can be little doubt that they are being helped to stay in school and engaged with their community.
We invite you to explore this website to learn more about the specific results that Social Project Coffee has brought so far, and hope that your purchasing dollars will help fund more projects in the future by supporting this model of coffee sourcing.