About six months ago, we started to formalise Kua’s position on ethical sourcing. To echo Digby’s theme from last month: sourcing is complicated.
Ethics are even more complicated. I asked myself a million times during the process: how do we consider all of the things - price, sustainability, transparency, gender equity, carbon footprint, rural and remote access, climate resilience - to make the most ethical purchasing decisions possible? How is this even practically possible?
The best answer I have at this point in time: ask good questions. And lots of them.
Here are some examples pulled from our ethical sourcing document:
Is there substantial information on each node of the supply chain available? Has that information been audited by the Kua team or a trusted partner?
Are pre-harvest financing and/or contracts possible so farmers can plan, budget and cover their costs during the harvest season?
Are there any sustainability certifications for the producer group (Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Organic, Triple A, 4Cs, Bird Friendly, Fairtrade, Enveritas, local alternatives)?
Are there any incentivisation schemes to enhance sustainability in the coffee growing region?
What is the gender composition of farmers?
Are we purchasing exclusively from smallholders (farm on less than 20 hectares)?
Does the local community identify climate change as a concern? If so, does climate resilience work occur in the coffee growing community and are there co-benefits for farming families / the broader community?
By asking a broad range of questions, we can make informed and impactful sourcing decisions. It’s not about hard and fast rules, but evidence and understanding.
As much as these questions will help Kua to keep up the quality impact work, I really hope they will help you too. As a consumer it can be so hard to wade through the bullshit - knowing what questions to ask is half the challenge. If you’re interested, email me at email@example.com and I’ll send over the most recent draft of our ethical sourcing framework. I’d love, love, love to hear from you.
Bri & the Kua Team
PS: I just realised I never introduced myself. How rude! I’m Bri, I take care of impact at Kua. I grew up in the Snowy Mountains. I love playing soccer and eating pasta. It’s an absolute pleasure to meet you.
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