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Portland, Ore. (February 8, 2018)— Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) is pleased to announce it will award its 2018 Leadership Medal of Merit to two recipients: David Griswold of Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers will receive the honor in the individual category, and the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) will be honored in the corporate category. The honors will be presented April 21 in Seattle during CQI’s annual luncheon.
CQI is honoring Mr. Griswold and the FNC for their commitment to improving farmers’ livelihoods, fostering sustainability, and increasing coffee quality. Mr. Griswold has achieved these objectives as the pioneer of the “relationship coffee” sourcing initiative with Sustainable Harvest, while the FNC has worked directly with farmers for 90-plus years to accomplish these feats in strengthening the Colombian coffee sector.
David Griswold, Sustainable Harvest
Mr. Griswold is the founder of Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers, a green-coffee-importing company committed to sourcing coffee with impact. Through Mr. Griswold’s “relationship coffee” method, Sustainable Harvest has spent over 20 years creating transparent relationships that increase value throughout the supply chain. “Under David’s leadership and vision, Sustainable Harvest has been unique in providing technical assistance and certification to producers worldwide, as well as higher prices and knowledge of their product,” says CQI Executive Director David Roche.
Mr. Griswold served as president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) from 2003 to 2004 and led the association in its first sustainability conference. In 2008, he received the SCAA’s Outstanding Contribution Award in recognition for his contribution to the SCAA and the specialty-coffee industry. Under his leadership, Sustainable Harvest has partnered with over 200,000 coffee smallholder farmers, helping them gain access to premium markets and increased incomes. In 2003, Mr. Griswold led Sustainable Harvest in launching Let’s Talk Coffee, an origin-based, producer-focused conference bringing together stakeholders to learn, connect and calibrate as a supply chain. Let’s Talk Coffee has grown into an industry-leading conference that this year will hold its 14th global event in Colombia.
Sustainable Harvest was the first coffee importer to become a B Corporation, a network of companies committed to using business as a force for good. In 2013, Sustainable Harvest partnered with Michael Bloomberg’s charitable giving arm Bloomberg Philanthropies to found the Relationship Coffee Institute (RCI), an independent nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of women coffee farmers through training and market access. RCI’s innovative, market-based initiatives in Rwanda have helped more than double income for thousands of women in coffee and established a proof of concept that helped the organization secure funding to scale the work to reach 25,000 women in coffee around the world.
Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC)
The FNC was founded in 1927 by Colombian coffee growers as a way to create national and international representation and to improve the quality of their lives. In its 90-plus years, the organization has helped improve the well-being of over 500,000 Colombian families involved in coffee production. “Thanks in large part to the work of the FNC, quality and sustainability are not recent trends for Colombian coffee growers,” says David Roche. “These have been a priority for more than 90 years, along with differentiating quality, adding value, and staying ahead of the curve on economic, social and environmental practices.”
The FNC has started many important initiatives and taken visionary measures to strengthen the Colombia coffee sector. In 1938, the FNC founded CENICAFÉ, Colombia’s national coffee research center that seeks to find innovative methods to increase sustainability, raise yields and improve quality. In 1940, the organization established the National Coffee Fund, which supports environmental and social projects, as well as the formulation and implementation of coffee policy in Colombia. And in 1960 the FNC started the Manuel Mejía Foundation, the organization’s academic arm that funds training for extensionists that helps improve the quality of Colombian coffee.
The FNC continues to work closely with the Colombian government to provide health care, education, infrastructure, and rural development to strengthen the coffee sector. The FNC’s programs also help coffee growers prepare for the challenges ahead, including adapting to climate change, fostering sustainable coffee farming, and stimulating generational continuity. Most recently, FNC has led the way in bringing together coffee producers from several countries to create a new economic order to promote coffee sustainability.
This marks the 20th year that CQI has given out its merit award, the organization’s highest honor. The Leadership Medal of Merit recognizes extraordinary people and organizations whose actions and accomplishments embody CQI’s mission to improve coffee quality and the lives of the people who produce it. Past recipients include Sunalini Menon (Coffee Board of India), Timothy Schilling (World Coffee Research), Lindsey Bolger (Keurig Green Mountain), Mr. Sergio Fajardo (Governor of Antioquia, Colombia), and Willy Foote (Root Capital).
Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization working internationally to improve the quality of coffee and the lives of people who produce it. Quality is one of the most important variables that influence a coffee’s value. However, many producers do not have access to the tools and support they need to understand the quality of their coffee, improve that quality, access markets that reward that quality, ultimately enabling them to make more informed business choices. That’s where we come in.
At CQI we bring diverse stakeholders together to solve local challenges. Our customized solutions, shaped by coffee experts and decades of experience, result in long-term solutions that emphasize self-sufficiency. With deep roots in the coffee trade, we aim to facilitate market connections that build healthier supply chains and thriving coffee communities. For more information, visit coffeeinstitute.org.
About CQI’s Annual Luncheon
Our annual luncheon is CQI’s singular fundraiser of the year. The event provides a platform to share updates about our work and honor the recipients of our Leadership Medal of Merit, CQI’s most prestigious award. It’s also a time when friends gather to connect and new friendships are made, as everyone in the room shares one passion: high-quality coffee.
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