The Ethiopia project of Paulig and Fairtrade includes more than 25,000 coffee farmers. Read about the thoughts of Seija Säynevirta, Sustainability Manager of Paulig Coffee division, on our cooperation projects in countries of origin.
The Fairtrade week reminds us of our opportunities of influencing sustainable development through our everyday choices as consumers. At Paulig, sustainability is a natural part of our ways of thinking and working. It is reflected in our business operations in various ways; for example, in Finland, we are using renewable energy for roasting coffee and developing packaging solutions out of renewable materials.
We want to offer a wide selection of products and services that make sustainable everyday choices a little easier. A great way to promote sustainable development is to select products with sustainability certification. We offer many such options. In addition to our wide selection of certified coffee, we also procure coffee from carefully selected, verifiably sustainable partnership programmes. This coffee is particularly used in our Presidentti range.
Sustainability and great flavour stem from cooperation
There are about 25 million coffee farmers in the world, and about 70% of all coffee is grown at small farms under two hectares in size. These coffee farmers are local, small business owners who struggle with challenges related to livelihood, continuity of their business and climate change. To ensure a bright future for coffee, we support the livelihoods of coffee farmers through our partnership programmes and teach them practical measures against the challenges of climate change.
We have engaged in cooperation for a long time to promote sustainable development in coffee farming. For example, Paulig is a founding member of the International Coffee Partners community, established in 2001 and covering about 66,000 smallholder farmers in 12 countries through practical projects. Our goal is to expand and deepen our participation in such projects in the near future. In 2016, for example, we started a pilot programme with Fairtrade to support coffee farmer communities in the Sidama region of Ethiopia and we are committed to continue the programme until 2021. The purpose of the programme is to improve the productivity of farming and coffee quality as well as the well-being of the entire community. Currently, the programme covers 12 co-operatives with over 25,000 coffee farmers. The project is also supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland through Finnpartnership.
I think that, when investing in cooperation that supports sustainable development and procuring verifiably sustainable coffee, we are on the right path. This work will have a positive impact on the coffee farmers of the next generation, the health of our planet and our own business operations. This enables us to keep providing coffee lovers with high-quality coffee from various countries of origin. We hope that our work makes our coffee taste even better.