Is Coffee Best Served With Sustainability?

Friday, October 30, 2015

Some coffee drinkers enjoy cream and sugar with their java. But do they care if sustainability also comes with their morning cup of Joe?

David Griswold, founder of Sustainable Harvest Coffee and the next guest of the WDI Global Impact Speaker Series, will discuss the issue of sustainability at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4 in Room R1210 at the Ross School of Business. The talk is free and open to the public.

Griswold’s talk, “Do Consumers Really Care About Sustainability? Perspectives from Sustainable Harvest Coffee,” will reflect on the growing business challenge of creating authentic and scaled commodity supply chains that are sustainable and can impact the growers and rural communities in the developing world. In times of rapid industry consolidation, venture capital money, and acquisitions in the specialty coffee industry, Griswold wonders if customers really care about sustainability.

Griswold was a guest at WDI in 2013 and sat down then for a video interview with WDI Senior Fellow Ted London. Watch the interview here.

“David has a fascinating story to tell,” London said. “He is an entrepreneur who has built a $50 million business that is primarily focused on sourcing coffee from small holder farmers in developing countries. Sustainable Harvest is a BoP enterprise that is sustainable at scale, which is not an easy feat. But despite all his efforts, David still wonders how much the concept of sustainability really matters to his customers.”

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