Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc., a leader in specialty coffee and coffee makers, announced it has increased its impact in coffee-growing communities through its coffee purchasing, community investments and stakeholder engagement, in line with its ongoing sustainability efforts. GMCR continues to strengthen its commitment to fair trade as part of its sustainable coffee sourcing strategy. The company sees fair trade as a way to provide its consumers with high quality coffee, and help ensure a higher quality of life for coffee farmers.
GMCR's recent actions and accomplishments on this front include the following: GMCR was again named the world's largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee in 2011 by Fair Trade USA. In calendar 2011, GMCR purchased more than 50 million pounds of Fair Trade Certified coffee for its specialty coffee business unit in the U.S. Since the start of GMCR's involvement in fair trade and involvement with Fair Trade USA in 2000, GMCR's Fair Trade Certified coffee purchases have delivered more than $13 million in community development premium funds to coffee farmers.
As part of its ongoing sustainability efforts, GMCR recently made a $550,000 grant to Fair Trade USA in support of various programs that cultivate awareness about Fair Trade Certified coffee. The fair trade programs range from scholarships for the organization's Fair Trade Colleges & Universities program to sponsoring coffee producer events around the country.
GMCR co-hosted two ‘Intercambio' events, in Peru and in Nicaragua, with Fair Trade USA. With a focus on engagement, these multi-day events brought together GMCR's entire coffee supply chain in each country -- including farmers, importers, traders, social lenders, and non-government organizations (NGOs) -- to enhance transparency, inspire collaboration, and exchange ideas.
To further its support of coffee-growing communities, from 2008-2011, GMCR funded 36 food security projects through 17 NGO partners in communities where GMCR sources Fair Trade Certified coffee. These projects benefited approximately 39,800 families, and more than 206,400 people in coffee-growing communities in 12 different countries.
GMCR also purchases Fairtrade Certified coffee, certified by Fairtrade Canada, through its Canadian business unit (GMCR Canada). In 2012, GMCR Canada converted four Van Houtte® coffee varieties to be Fairtrade Certified and is converting three additional varieties this month.
"We have sold coffee to GMCR since our last harvest and we feel honored to be a GMCR supplier,” said Fredman Vásquez, general manager, Cooperativa 5 de Junio, a Fair Trade Certified cooperative in Nicaragua, in a prepared statement. “We not only look for a fair price, but for a buyer who focuses on social impact and invests in projects for the betterment of our people. The programs GMCR has supported in our country have been important and successful."
"We began as one of the first roasters in the country to offer Fair Trade Certified coffees in 2000, and we're now engaged with stakeholders to ensure the growth of the fair trade movement into the future," said Lindsey Bolger, senior director of coffee for the specialty coffee business unit of GMCR.