COFFEE Project Starts Brewing

Photo: Verité

This week, labor advocacy non-profit Verité, with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, officially launched Cooperation On Fair, Free, Equitable Employment (COFFEE) Project, spanning Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. Improving labor conditions in the coffee sector through the creation of a robust compliance system, toolkit, trainings, and guidance are the goal of the project. The official funding amount has yet to be disclosed by either Verité or USDOL.

The project, which has already built a partner network of ten major coffee roasters and traders and eight prominent industry associations, will consider the perspectives and interests of all stakeholders throughout the value chain. The framework for a social compliance system will be based on USDOL’s Comply Chain model and practical tools aligned with eight steps of the comply chain:

  1. Stakeholder engagement
  2. Risk and impact assessment
  3. Development of robust standards
  4. Communication and training on standards across
    the supply chain
  5. Monitoring for compliance
  6. Remediating violations
  7. Seeking independent verification
  8. Reporting on performance

Pilot projects with the framework will run in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico for the next three years. Findings will be used to refine the compliance system and toolkit.