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How Our Open Business Model Inspired an Industry to Change

When I began working in coffee in the 1980s, many of the twenty million coffee farmers around the world were at the mercy of middlemen who paid farmers little for their product. I was frustrated—the business ‘norm’ left farmers in a cycle of poverty. So I set out to change the system. I founded Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers to create a relationship-based supply chain, helping farmers take their livelihoods from subsistence to sustainability. Transparency has been a guiding principle for Sustainable Harvest from the beginning—it’s our idea of business+. It might not be the traditional way of importing coffee, but transparency creates indispensible value throughout our supply chain. Producers are empowered to increase their competitiveness and earn higher incomes; roasters are assured a traceable, quality cup of coffee for their customers. And it’s good for us, too. The transparent network that Sustainable Harvest has cultivated over the years allows us to respo

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