Bourbon Specialty Coffees are one of our most trusted and valued suppliers, supplying beans that are essential for some of our biggest blends including Rich Italian, Lazy Sunday and Decaffé.
Within the coffee buying team here at Taylors, and amongst colleagues in the industry, Bourbon is synonymous with excellent quality coffee and exceptional service. We have worked with them for over a decade. So, when they asked us if Taylors could get involved with a food donation initiative, we leapt at the opportunity. I got in touch with our sustainability team, who got the ball rolling quickly to fund the project.
Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world, with farmers processing around 60 million bags (weighing 60 kg each) every year — that’s a LOT of coffee! Thanks to its relatively flat topography and efficient, mechanised harvesting, farms in Brazil (particularly larger estates) enjoy some of the lowest costs of production of any coffee producing country. As a result, price volatility has less of an impact in Brazil than it does in other origins. Wages for workers are also typically much better than the rest of the coffee producing world.
The coffee industry in Brazil is relatively financially stable in comparison to other countries we purchase from in Latin America, Asia and Eastern Africa, where prices can be more volatile and wages are often lower. This stability can mean that Brazil isn’t prioritised in terms of projects as much as other areas. However, working in partnership with Bourbon on this campaign has really emphasised to myself and the team here at Taylors that having a positive impact in the areas in which we operate isn’t just about our direct network, it includes local communities beyond the scope of the farms and factories we source from. We approach environmental sustainability in this way, and our social projects should be addressed in the same manner.
We all know from our own experiences the wide-ranging impact that the pandemic has had, in the UK and across the world. Brazil has been affected particularly severely, with high levels of infection, widespread unemployment, and limited social support. Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes recently coined the term “invisibles” for the 40 million people without formal employment who have flown largely under the radar of Brazil’s government. In a recent study, 36% of Brazilians reporting having gone hungry as a result of food insecurity caused by the pandemic.
Fortunately, the coffee industry was less affected than other sectors in Brazil, but many local people have been affected in the communities close to where we operate, so together with the team at Bourbon, we wanted to do what we could to support them. This meant extending our reach to families and vulnerable groups that were struggling due to the pandemic or local lockdowns.
Many of the projects that we fund at Taylors have long timelines and complex goals, and for good reason- that is often the best way to achieve long-term sustainability objectives. On this occasion though, it was so rewarding and encouraging to keep it simple, to get help into the hands of those who need it most, and to see the smiles on their faces while doing so.”