About Coop Coffees
Cooperative Coffees (CC) is a green coffee, importing cooperative committed to supporting and partnering with small-scale farmer organizations. CC is currently composed of 22 Fair Trade coffee roasters located in different cities across Canada and the U.S.A.
Mission and Vision
Being a pioneer of the fair trade movement means have a clear mission and vision of what fair trade is, and what role we wish to play within the greater fair trade movement. This allows us to steer a path to where we want to be, and how we will get there. Read our mission and vision statement here.
Originally, a few roasters building their businesses upon the ideals of alternative trade came together to form CC as a legally structured buying cooperative. Because of the volumes they needed as small-scale roasters, individually it would have been impossible to import directly from a variety of coffee farmer cooperatives. But collectively, CC has been able to establish Fair Trade relationships with twenty three coffee cooperatives from eleven different producer countries. Roaster members now stretch from Rhode Island to Washington State, and from the Northern Territory of the Yukon, Canada down to the panhandle of Florida. Some are roaster/retailers, others are roaster/wholesalers, but all are small-sized operations that are committed to selling sustainable coffees.
Discover how Cooperative Coffees came to be.
Like any non-profit co-op, CC has officers and a board of directors. The Cooperative itself boasts a small, but effective staff. We also have several member working committees to oversee critical aspects of the coop’s day to day functions. These include: Finance, Membership, Outreach and Public Relations, Development and Green Bean. The Finance Committee approves spending and looks for ways to raise capital and qualify for loans. The Membership Committee markets the co-op, seeking out new members and answering questions from interested roasters, as well as considering member services and planning the Annual General Meeting of Members. And last but not least, the Green Bean Committee is charged with overseeing quality issues, analyzing the terms of our purchase contracts, reviewing the quantity of coffee needed by our roaster/members, and evaluating our needs and capacity to establish relationships with potential, new producer partners.
See the basics of our governing structure:
To date, CC has established partnerships with producers in Chiapas-Mexico, Oaxaca-Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Sumatra, East Timor Rwanda, and Ethiopia. Based upon input from the co-op's members, the green committee is looking to add cooperatives from South America and Africa to this list.
The farmer cooperatives CC partners with are democratically managed and must demonstrate their desire to work towards sustainable development in their communities, as well as their ability to produce and deliver exceptional specialty coffee. Some of CC’s partner co-ops have exported directly to the specialty market for many years; others have a long history of production but are new to direct exportation of their coffee. CC is committed to helping these co-ops participate directly in and benefit from the world of international trade.
Fair Trade Principles
Organizations such as TransFair, of which CC is a member, promote more equitable terms of trade. However, CC’s intentions as Fair Trade coffee roasters go beyond the simple act of buying and selling excellent quality coffees. CC tries to take this model a step further, striving to be an active partner in the producer cooperatives’ development and growth by visiting the grower organizations in the field, listening to their needs, and adhering to the following principles:
- Fair wages for the producers
- Support cooperative workplaces in producer and consumer countries
- Encourage environmental sustainability
- Provide financial/technical support for production and sale of high quality coffee, as well as collaboration with community development
- Respect cultural identity
- Promote consumer education
Also, learn more about fair trade itself by looking at our resources section on fair trade.