UNION DIRECT TRADE

Our philosophy of coffee sourcing principle is more than just paying a fair price, it means we work in partnership with farmers to improve both quality of coffee and livelihoods, long term.

It's about ‘trade, not aid’. Receiving sustainable prices for coffee lets farmers build viable livelihoods and have control over investments and development in their communities.

Ever since Jeremy and Steven first visited producers in Guatemala, back in 2001, they realised that we had to go further than just subsidies. We focus on the quality of coffee, not quantity. Seeking a living wage for workers, not just a minimum wage. It’s a better deal for everyone, and better beans for us. It’s the only way to do coffee. This is true sustainable development.



UNION DIRECT TRADE COFFEE MEANS

1. You can find out exactly where, how and by whom your coffee is produced.

2. The farmer receives a fair, sustainable price. Always covering the cost of production, in 2018 on average 48% above minimum Fairtrade price and 69% above the world market price.

3. Your coffee comes from farmers committed to sustainable agricultural practices and labour rights.

4. You get access to unique coffees. Through our direct sourcing and long-term relationships, we can discover exclusive, hard-to-find gems.

5. You are guaranteed to drink a delicious cup of 100 per cent Arabica, speciality coffee.

 

A MESSAGE FROM OUR FOUNDERS

We started Union Hand-Roasted Coffee in 2001, after years of witnessing the impact of volatile markets on the lives of coffee farmers. We saw how communities suffered from having to accept low prices that did not even cover the cost of producing their coffee.

We wanted to create a better way. We wanted to be a force for good.

Union was founded with the aim of encouraging farmers to produce high-quality coffee by paying sustainable prices. The extra income from this trading model would improve the livelihoods of farmers and, we hoped, further encourage them to keep raising the quality of their coffee.

Today, we work together with more than 40 producer partners from Asia, Africa and Latin America on improving the economic, social and environmental conditions of coffee production, making a difference to over 65,000 people. We source and roast our coffee and sell to cafés and restaurants throughout the UK as well as to enthusiastic coffee lovers at home.

A large part of our success has been due to the direct and close relationships we have with our coffee farmer partners. We want to continue to have a positive impact on farmers and particularly their workers by sourcing coffee produced under conditions that provide correct labour standards. Improving the lives of workers in our coffee supply chain is important for the overall sustainability of coffee production.

But more importantly, we believe in this because it is the right thing to do.

 

STEVEN MACATONIA & JEREMY TORZ
FOUNDERS & COFFEE ADDICTS

"For us direct trade is more than going to origin and selecting the best tasting coffee.

Union Direct Trade is our sustainable approach to developing long-term relationships with farmers and supporting them to produce the best-tasting coffees."

STEVEN MACATONIA

OUR IMPACT ON COFFEE PRODUCERS' LIVES

WE SOURCE COFFEE FROM: 14 Countries / 40+ Producers

Coffee is grown in the ‘bean belt’ between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.

WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO OVER 65,000 INDIVIDUALS

Over 11,600 families from co-operatives we work with benefit from Union Direct Trade. With each family having an average of 5 family members, we calculate that over 58,000 individuals benefit from our purchasing model.

In addition, we also source from small and medium-sized farms, producers’ organisations and estates. This extends to over 1500 families, which represents a further 7500 individuals. That makes over 65,000 individuals in all.

These families have been able to feed their children, send them to school and invest in their livelihoods. So our total indirect impact exceeds this number significantly.

COFFEE SUPPLY CHAIN CHALLENGES

Climate change is coffee’s biggest long-term threat. Rising temperatures, increasing weather volatility, increased prevalence of pests, and disease associated with climate change all contribute to lower yields and lower quality, with a damaging effect on farmers' livelihoods. Prolonged drought, when combined with poverty, forces farmers out of coffee production and contributes to human migration

Without action the global area suitable for coffee production is predicted to decline by 50 per cent by 2050, and yet demand is expected to double (World Coffee Research 2017).
  • The market price of coffee follows a world index which fluctuates in a speculative economy. When prices fall, farmers may not receive enough money to cover the investment they’ve made during the year to grow their coffee crop
  • Coffee is grown in developing countries where life expectancy, education levels and incomes are low and have weak law enforcement on labour rights
  • The conventional coffee trade has complex supply chains which make it difficult to get a true picture of working conditions at farm level, including seasonal workers
  • Women comprise half the coffee growing workforce, but they are often excluded from training and decision making at household, farm and organisational levels
  • Higher-quality coffee can demand a higher price, but even if farmers are aware of this, they may lack the specialist knowledge, equipment and facilities needed to produce it
  • Young people are less inclined to follow their parents into coffee farming, yet they are more likely to adopt new technology and implement modern farming techniques which are crucial to increasing quality and productivity. This is particularly important with challenges like climate change. The lack of a next generation of young farmers could affect the sustainable supply of high-quality coffee
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    UNION DIRECT TRADE WAS DEVELOPED TO TACKLE THESE ISSUES, CONTINUE READING