Pret A Manger’s Coffee Fund addresses the declining youth involvement in coffee farming, by equipping the next generation of farmers with the tools they need to build a sustainable business. The average age of coffee farmers in the company’s network is over 65 years which, now more than ever, in the light of the impact of Covid-19, is a major challenge for the future of the sector. Each year, a group of approximately 65 young people from across Peru enroll in the course, which provides intensive training on smart technologies, improving crop yield and coffee quality, and adaptation to climate change, as well as a post-training support services (grants, loans). This ensures that the community has the knowledge base, tools and resources to continue producing coffee sustainably.
Direct links with the local cooperative ensure career opportunities after graduation (94% of participants have remained in coffee farming) and Pret A Manger aims at sourcing 100% of its coffee from cooperatives where the Coffee Fund program is run. It would as such, by its business activities, help smallholder communities thrive.
With a clear vision in mind, the project team was able to make the following achievements during their participation in the acceleration program:
The acceleration program provided an overall injection of energy and renewed drive into the internal team. The support and direction from the program has enabled them to build expansion plans in a more considered and informed way through the following activities:
- Creating a baseline of social investment approaches across coffee companies and specifying where Pret fits in the ecosystem
- Defining the theory of change, including outputs and outcomes
- Calculating the value of Pret’s investment in the Coffee Fund (in process)
- Modelling of what Pret’s investment can achieve to support business in defining the level of investment, understanding potential reach, and creating a direct link to volume rather than one off philanthropy (in process)
A next step of the project team is to further work on return-to-investment models.