Coop Sol's mandate is to help Coop Coffees foster strong producer relationships, in order to import fair trade and organic coffee in accordance with mission and values.
1. Excellent Communications
- Internal: Information to and from roasters
- Internal: Information to and from producers
- External: Information to allies and general public. This includes offering general info about Coop Coffees and our vision of Fair Trade to allies such as social financiers, friends in the sustainable living and organics world, local economy, student networks, dedicate Fair Traders, and others in the specialty coffee trade networks. This also features actions and collaborations to help build and maintain these relationships.
2. Promoting Best Practices
We facilitate the flow of information and exchange between roaster members and producer partners, concerning:
- Resources and contact information
- Research and knowledge
- Technological innovation
- Developing relationships
- Direct action for capacity building with producer partners
Top priority is facilitating stronger relationships between grower cooperatives and cooperative coffees and its roaster members. Part of this is accomplished by working with producers and roasters to arrange visits mutual visits, helping put together capacity building activities and information, and generally keeping in close touch with grower co-ops while following their progress.
The structure of the Solidarity Cooperative is conducive to bringing producer partners into our organizational structure and direction setting for future activities. Our first producer representatives came in as members at the CoopSol assembly in 2008.
CoopSol was charged with raising the necessary funds to facilitate ample producer participation during our 2007 AGM. With this experience, we may have opened the door to explore funding possibilities for projects that strengthen the general health and stability of our producer partners’ organizations. In 2009, Coop Coffees received nearly $100,000 worth of grants from USAID as part of the Farmer-to-Farmer program. Coop Sol is responsible for organizing and managing the project's assignments which include a series of focused delegations with producer groups to work on improving quality and organic practices and to collaborate on ongoing developmental projects.
3. Taking Care of the Mechanics (to get the "right coffee" on a boat at the "right time")
The mechanics include bringing together the nuts and bolts of planning our contracts and container shipment schedule, such as:
- Feedback and commitments from roasters regarding green bean volumes
- Feedback from roasters regarding green bean quality
- Compile this information for an annual "Master Green Bean Purchase Plan"
- Writing up and signing of green bean contracts
- Follow up on delivery for producer contracts
- Quality verification--that landed and pre-ship samples match and are acceptable
- Writing up and signing of roaster purchase contracts
- Follow up with roasters that purchases correspond to commitments
Coop Sol works with producer partners to evaluate coffee supply, quality concerns, negotiating the contracts for import, and confirming all the logistical details involved with moving the coffee from port in the producer country to our warehouses in New York and Toronto. The Montreal office will also be spearheading special activities in collaboration with producer partners to improve coffee production and quality and to continue strengthening the health and stability of our relationships.
We are also responsible for gathering green needs estimates, communicating with roaster members any disruptions in supply, possible substitutions, delays or special purchases that might occur during the import season.