Walmart Commits to Sustainable Coffee

Bentonville, Arkansas based big box Walmart is working to provide a range of coffee that is affordable, high-quality and that customers trust.

One way they are accomplishing this is by sourcing third-party certified sustainably-grown coffee for products sold in Walmart stores and clubs. For example, they sell merchandise with Rainforest Alliance Certified seals. These seals indicate that, according to the standards set by the Sustainable Agriculture Network, certain products were grown with care by farmers working to build sustainable livelihoods and thriving communities.

Walmart is the first major North American retailer to join Conservation International’s Sustainable Coffee Challenge. The Sustainable Coffee Challenge is a collaborative effort of companies, governments, non-governmental organizations, research institutions and others seeking to advance sustainability efforts in the coffee sector. In joining The Challenge, Walmart set a goal to purchase all of its private brand coffee sustainably by the end of 2020. Today’s customers are looking for sustainable options, and Walmart want to make sure customers find what they need.

As a retailer, Walmart values the men and women who produce the products their customers want, and Walmart expects their suppliers to provide workers with safe and healthy working conditions. Earlier this year, Walmart reinforced this expectation at the first convening of the World Coffee Producers Forum in Medellin, Colombia. During remarks at the forum,  Fernando Serpa, Vice President, Sourcing and Procurement Latin America spoke to coffee sector representatives about how Walmart could create a more equitable value chain that benefits customers, workers and businesses.

During a recent tour of the La Miranda Farm on the outskirts of Medellin, Colombia, Walmart merchants had the privilege to speak with Gonzalo Valencia – a passionate coffee grower with more than 30 years of experience. Mr. Valencia provided valuable insights on some of the challenges and opportunities that exist in the coffee value chain. Multiple generations of Mr. Valencia’s family have worked as coffee growers, much like scores of other growers throughout Latin America and Africa who have contributed to both Great Value Classic Roast and Sam’s Choice Colombia Supremo coffee blends.

Walmart’s engagement with coffee bean growers such as Mr. Valencia and other cultivators around the world gives us important insights on how the retailer can assist them and improve the sustainability of coffee production.

By selling products with certifications and incorporating feedback from coffee growers, Walmart is working to make the coffee value chain effective and sustainable for everyone, from the farmers to their customers and that first delicious sip in the morning.

 



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Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan).

Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s.
Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago.

Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.