15th July 2019
Coffee prices have fallen dramatically in 2019, to the lowest in 14 years in fact. You might not have noticed it when you buy your beans on a Saturday morning from your local supermarket, but this all-time low is causing coffee producers to sell at vastly lower prices or even abandon their farms to look for a more reliable income.
So why has this happened?
This is mainly due to the largest ever crop in one key country, Brazil. It’s actually the world’s largest coffee-producing country, which is why the impact on the global market is so large. When supply outstrips demand, prices drop and producers suffer.
All companies source in their own way and at Taylors, we source our tea and coffee in a unique way that supports the farmers and protects their livelihoods. It’s called the Taylors Sourcing Approach or TSA for short and it’s pretty special. It’s set up to allow us to work with our producers to build a more sustainable supply chain, protecting them and your cup of coffee.
Firstly, let’s look at how we do business. Last year, 70% of our coffee was sourced from what we call strategic or preferred suppliers. This means that we have long-term contracts with 70% of our supply chain and rather than buying only based on price, we buy on quality from producers that align with our values and sustainable approaches. Our contracts are anywhere up to 3 years long and we have been working with some of these suppliers for over 15 years.
All the coffee we buy at Taylors is sourced at a fair price, even if the market drops. In 2018, we paid over US$7 million above the average price of the market.
Secondly, we focus on building relationships with our suppliers and we visit them regularly every year. Our coffee buying team are hardly ever sat in their seats at the office – Jamie Ball, one of our buyers is in Brazil right now and this means we can understand the challenges they face every day. We then support them with projects on the ground such as replacing dangerous open fires in homes in Uganda with clean burning cook stoves and empowering women in Rwanda through financial literacy programs.
Last year alone we spent £368,000 on sustainability projects in coffee producing regions.
The final piece is that at Taylors, we are committed to paying above the cost of production and continue to safe guard the lives of those who grow our coffee – that will never change. We are always working on ways we can be transparent, and we kicked this off last year by publishing our full supplier list for tea, coffee, packaging and herbs. But we need your help as well.
By drinking Taylors coffee, you are making a choice to support our approach that safeguards the producers just through buying our product. The more you vote with your feet and the more other coffee companies can do to adopt sustainable approaches, we might just have a chance to turn this crisis around.
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