Making an impact on the lives of South American Coffee Farmers

Thrive Farmers is one of Christian Super’s impact investments through Sovereign’s Capital.

Thrive Farmers is an Atlanta-based coffee company that is making a difference in the lives of South American coffee farmers and their communities. Thrive connects farmers in Guatemala and Costa Rica directly with consumers; reducing profit loss, ensuring a stable price for coffee and ultimately providing higher earnings for farmers.

In the traditional model, often-impoverished coffee farmers take all the risks of planting and growing beans only to have their profit margin significantly reduced by selling their beans to roasters, then to wholesalers and finally to consumers. Despite their hard work and commitment to their produce, the average coffee farmer’s revenue is uncertain and the models within which they operate are unjust.

Your super helps to provide a dramatically better deal for coffee farmers through the Thrive Farmers model. Thrive makes their farmers partners in their business. Farmers are stakeholders in each step of the process from farm to consumer, providing greater profit to the farmers. Thrive also gives growers 50% to 75% of the sales of the each bag of beans, providing even greater income stability.

This focus on equity for coffee farmers has a far reaching impact, causing a positive ripple effect into the their communities. In communities where farmers have partnered with Thrive, increased profit share in their businesses and the involvement of the ThriveWorx Foundation has made way for new dental and health clinics, new education programs and other community investments.

Thrive successfully combines social justice with a solid for-profit business model. They grew more than 8,500% in the first five years of operation and in 2016 they were ranked 19 on the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. They are the sole coffee provider for the large American fast food chain, Chick-Fil-A and are continuing to grow steadily. These are strong results for a company whose primary focus is to uplift coffee farmers and their communities.

The success of Thrive Farmers demonstrates social impact makes good business sense. Corporate social responsibility used to be “good to have”, but in the 21st Century it is now a core business requirement for brands looking for a competitive edge.

A 2017 study found that 87% of consumers would purchase a product if the company that made it advocates for a cause they believe in. With more consumers than ever showing keen interest in the values and social impact that brands have, businesses that prioritise purpose and equity will continue to thrive.