Tim Hortons' Coffee Partnership: Corporate Meets Grassroots to Drive Sustainable Coffee Production

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Tim Hortons' Coffee Partnership: Corporate Meets Grassroots to Drive Sustainable Coffee Production

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.@TimHortons embraces sustainable coffee: http://bit.ly/PJhJrQ @Justmeans #sustainability #ethicalconsumption #csr
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 1:00pm

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A Tim Hortons cup of coffee has become a standard symbol of Canada akin to the beaver or hockey. For a company with over 4,000 stores in five countries, most of which are franchised, CSR is complex and mostly grassroots driven. Since every eight out of ten cups of coffee sold in Canada is Tim Hortons, sustainable coffee bean sourcing has been a key issue for the company-and for the entire coffee industry.

At a May 17th Toronto Sustainability Speakers Series (TSSS) event, Tim Faveri, Tim Hortons Director of Sustainability and Responsibility, spoke about the company's community investment and environmental initiatives. Presenting to a packed room, Faveri described the coffee supply chain as a "complex web" made of growers, suppliers and buyers. Between the farmer and the consumer, the coffee passes through a lot of "hands." In 2005, Tim Hortons established its Coffee Partnership program, which provides farmers training in agronomy, sponsors youth leadership programs, and supports housing in coffee growers communities, to name a few.

The Coffee Partnership caught my attention for its authentic, grassroots approach to supply chain management.Making a True Difference is Tim Horton's internal brand for CSR, and is well represented in the Coffee Partnership program. What makes the program authentic and sets it apart from similar partnerships is that engagement is not conditional on securing business. In other words, program participants may chose to not sell the beans to Tim Hortons. It is up to them. The program's goals are well in line with its mission: to help small-scale farmers (farm size of five to ten hectares) "improve their coffee business and their lives." [1]

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Meirav Even-Har is a Justmeans staff blogger. She reports on Canadian CSR issues. Meirav is an independent sustainability consultant and writer working in Toronto, Canada.

Keywords: Responsible Business & Employee Engagement | Coffee Partnership | Sustainable Coffee Production | Tim Faveri | Tim Hortons | Toronto Sustainability Speakers Series | csr | sustainable supply chain

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