A non-profit organisation, Raw Material was founded to ensure specialty coffee meets its potential in becoming a solution to the issues facing our industry, not a further contributor to the cycle of debt and disadvantage that many producers have faced over generations. The team work as service providers to many marginalised producing communities with the promise of maximising income whilst improving coffee quality, yields and community initiatives.
They work deeply across five countries of origin: Burundi, Rwanda, Mexico, Colombia and Timor Leste. They help North Star specifically with the provision of our Burundian and Mexican coffees - we love what they do because, like us, their work is focused on maximum impact. This means that they do not search for the best coffees in the world but rather, for the communities they can work with to build systems that produce high quality coffee connected to a more stable marketplace. It also means they are driven by the promise of impact, building their strategy around the potential to improve the people, places and systems of the coffee supply chain.
For Raw Material, impact must be economic, social and environmental. Their model focuses on economic freedom for people working in coffee through increasing prices, income diversification and more timely payments. Socially, they seek to contribute to the sharing of knowledge across the supply chain and environmentally they work to promote responsible practices in growing and harvesting. These outcomes are measured both on an individual household and community level and just like North Star, their ways of working are tweaked as they learn more about the impact they are creating.
We are always searching for better ways of working to try to undo structures that exist to prioritise the buyer over the producer and were delighted this season to secure a couple of lots from Raw Material. They work with the sole aim of securing higher proﬁts for both producers and employees of the company.