After two succesful events on sustainable fashion and sustainable electronics, wednesday the 19th of April GreenBuzz Amsterdam hosted its third event: Sustainability in multibillion dollar industries: lessons from the food industry.
A good turnout, in combination with the beautiful venue at Grand Cafe De Tropen set us up for a great event, and once the audience was divided in food groups tuna, beef, corn, soy, dairy and foie gras (fwah grah) it was time for the men of the hour to take the stage.
Our first speaker, Mark from Moyee Coffee, immediately made it clear that this was in no way going to be an easy night. Mark explained some things about value creation in the coffee industry, and how the largest part of value is created with the process of roasting. Roasting rarely happens in the beans’ country of origin, and as such, farmers barely see any of the profits made by the companies that feed the westerner’s coffee addiction. Moyee’s solution? Roasting at the farm in Ethiopia! Problem solved, right? Well, not exactly.. Although Moyee has found an honest and straightforward way to deliver value to it’s farmers, this does not mean that they comply with all rules and regulations set up by certification organizations. Such certificates have quickly become a prerequisite for selling your goods at your local multinational grocery corporation, and getting one is quite a timely proces, and costs a lot of money as well. Money that could otherwise be spent on… A coffee roasting machine for an Ethiopian farmer.
Great news! Mark and Moyee successfully funded their first crowdfund campaign! Stay tuned at moyeecoffee.com
Things got even more complicated when Jan Maarten from Solidaridad took the mic. Palm oil apparently is everywhere and in everything. Whether it’s your bar of soap or your bar of chocolate, odds are you’ve put some palm oil in your mouth just this morning. Palm oil land use has grown from 4 to 15 million hectares in the past 30 years, and it’s safe to say the palm is still growing. Images of burnt down rainforests and dying orangutans make us westerners sad. And what do we do when we get sad? Right, we eat chocolate. Again here, many problems have arisen in recent years concerning certification. Very costly, and very susceptible to corruption, and maybe the biggest problem, certification only accounts for around 15% of palm oil production worldwide. It makes you wonder, is it even worth all the trouble? Of course it is, you pessimist! Always remember: It’s the tip of the iceberg that makes the iceberg visible.
Last but not least, Rodney from The Chocolate Makers. Rodney had been advising companies on supply chain management for quite a while when he decided he wanted to become part of the supply chain himself. And thus, chocolate became Rodney’s rocket to a fair and sustainable future. Each chocolate bar the Makers make represents an area and a project, making sure the chocolate bar has an identity, and helps putting (local) problems on the map and out of this world. Problems for the Chocolate Makers? Pricing (just don’t put that much cacao in your bars, Rodney 😉 ) and… certification. Also for the chocolate makers, the untransparant and unflexible world of certification, in combination with The Chocolate Makers’ fair pricing policy, makes it very hard to sell bars to the big public through traditional channels.
See you next time!