Highlights from “Changing the Coffee Industry through Activism”, hosted by Dalia Research and organized by Moyee as part of its FairChain Coffee Foundation launch in Germany. Presenters included Johanna Mager, Co-founder of Expansion.Eco, Karry Schwettmann, Extinction Rebellion activist, Dr. Marielle Dado, Benguet Arabica, Angelica Bertram from Woolis, Dr. Jürgen Piechaczek from Deliciosologie and Kilian Stokes from Moyee Coffee Ireland.
Festivals are a great way for small businesses and local brands to band together and create consumer demand for new products. The Berlin Coffee Festival, held October 1-6, is packed with events daily, hosted by many of the city’s most established cafes and independent roasters. In addition to the many tasting events, it is an opportunity for professionals to come together to discuss the future of the coffee industry — namely fixing a broken global coffee industry through activism.
As a technology company that is driven to create impact, Dalia Research supported our office’s coffee supplier, Moyee, by hosting their event, “Changing the Coffee Industry through Activism”. This event brought together professionals from the coffee and technology industry to not only discuss issues, but also the solutions that each of us can take in contributing to a better coffee industry.
Dalia Research: Using Technology to Create Intentional Impact
To start the evening, Athena from Dalia Research introduced the results of a Lightning Poll survey conducted using the company’s platform prior to the event. The single-question survey found that of the 1000 people in Germany who responded, only 1 in 3 Germans stated that the last coffee they had purchased was sustainably sourced, however they defined the term.
Athena then brainstormed how this data could provide coffee professionals with insights on how to approach consumers, suggesting that some may want to target the large market opportunity to convert the 78% of people age 46 and above, while others may want to target the students and fresh graduates, ages 18-25, in anticipation that their conversion may yield a high lifetime value.
Athena emphasised that Dalia’s platform needed to be intentionally used to create positive impact. By conducting Lightning Polls, Dalia Research is able to provide event partners and audiences a quick data points to begin conversations and provide changemakers with a bit more data that can help them plan how they engage consumers more effectively.
Fairchain: Redistributing the numbers across the value chain
Johanna Mager, Co-founder of Expansion.Eco, represented Moyee to share the company’s Fairchain approach to redistribute wealth in the coffee industry. Moyee’s business model is founded on a few key pieces of insight:
- 90% of coffee producing countries are receiving development aid
- 90%+ of coffee is roasted in the importing countries
- Ethiopia is the world’s #1 coffee producer
- 25 million people in Ethiopia, 1 in 4 people in Ethiopia, live below poverty line
- Roasted coffee beans yield about 3-5x more value than green beans
With these combined insights, the solution is obvious: roasting in the country of origin allows a large amount of wealth to be captured within the country. Moyee’s business model of distributing roasted beans directly from Ethiopia to overseas B2B purchasers gets to the heart of the issue in the broken coffee industry, where coffee farmers are living below poverty line and producing coffee at a loss because coffee prices have fallen dramatically since the 1990s. With a wholesale model that targets distributors and business clients like Dalia, Moyee can scale their business, and therefore their impact, more rapidly than a B2C approach.
Moyee is headquartered in Amsterdam, operates in the Netherlands and Ireland and has launched its operations in Germany. We are proud to be their first customers in Berlin!
Effective Activism for Everyone
Next, Karry Schwettmann, Co-Founder of Expansion.Eco and shared tips on effective activism. Karry used the Extinction Rebellion as an example of how nonviolent civil disobedience can creatively get the attention of the public, and thereby governments. As she showed examples of activism, that ranged from Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat sparking the American civil liberties movement to recent protests in Hong Kong, Karry also reminded us that effective activism is inclusive. Inclusion means not only engaging people from different cultural backgrounds and perspectives, but also to spending our energies leading by example, such as reducing or removing meat consumption.
Karry illustrated that in a digital age, effective activism has no borders and cited that the #metoo hashtag campaign that began in October 2017 has sparked a conversation with 2.2 million hashtagged posts on Instagram alone. She left off by suggesting how individuals can engage in causes they care about through various digital channels and that corporate activism is also an effective way to create impact, such as the Patagonia ad in the New York Times on Black Friday, 2011.
What can we do now to bring on change to the industry effectively?
The final spotlight was on the panel discussion moderated by Dr. Marielle Dado, from Benguet Arabica, with panelists Angelica Bertram from Woolis, Dr. Jürgen Piechacze from Deliciosologie, Kilian Stokes from Moyee Coffee Ireland, and Karry Schwettmann.
Dr. Dado asked questions that ranged from asking panelists to define direct trade, to connecting coffee and climate justice. Each of the panelists brought their unique perspectives, with Dr. Dado’s family coffee farm in the Philippines, Angelica Bertram doing direct trade with farmers, Dr. Piechacze Coffee as a the owner of a coffee roasting shop and academic background in agricultural sciences, economics, and food production, Kilian Stokes from international development and B2B coffee distribution, and Karry with her work in environmental activism.
Together, they discussed the inter-related issues of global food distribution, exploitation of farmers, and environmental damage. Examples included Brazil’s fires and general deforestation being linked to farmers who were not being paid enough for produce, and therefore resorted to fires to clear land for cash crops. There was a consensus that it is the poorest and most vulnerable, including farmers, who suffered most from global warming, as victims of drought, crop failure, and natural disasters.
Several of the panelists raised the need for agroforestry, where coffee plants are not grown in industrial lines, but nurtured in biodiverse forests to yield both higher quality and create resilience against environmental risks, such as coffee rust wiping out single-species farms.
Angelica Bertram illustrated this need by describing her sourcing trip in Mexico, where she met farming families. She gave an example of a two hectare farm, considered tiny, that had over 30 coffee varieties.
To close the evening, Dr. Dado asked each of the panelists what the coffee farmers they worked with would want those of us in wealthy countries to know. The panelists generally agreed that consumers should know who their coffee came from, and be more curious about the people and families families who put 90% of the work into growing the beans.
After the panel, the presenters and guests, many from the coffee industry, stayed for deeper conversations and networking opportunities. For those of you who missed this event, the Berlin Coffee Festival runs until Sunday, October 6!
You can find more details on how Dalia conducted the Lightning poll in this summary post.
If you are a business creating impact and would like to gather a diverse community for knowledge sharing and networking at our Berlin office, you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.