I went shopping to IKEA today as Easter is approaching soon. Having got everything I needed I was quite worn out and hungry therefore I decided to have a little rest and a quick snack in their cafeteria.
While I was eating my pizza I noticed their poster on the wall which was saying I could trace my coffee from a plantation to my table. Being a curious person I checked the website:
It opened and had very interesting start: “IKEA serves a lot of coffee every day. We want our customers to know that the coffee they drink is produced in a responsible manner. This is why IKEA has decided that all coffee sold and served at IKEA shall be UTZ Certified (Dutch company whose vision is "to achieve sustainable agricultural supply chains, that meet the growing needs and expectations of farmers, the food industry and consumers alike".)
and traceable all the way back to the plantations.“
On the website you can make your options that lead you to your plantation and story behind it. Mine took me to India which appears to be third largest Asian coffee producer, behind Vietnam and Indonesia. According to the website: „Nobody really knows how coffee came to India. One legend goes that a pilgrim, Baba Budan, brought 7 coffee seeds from Yemen and planted these in the hills of Chandragiri in today´s Chikmagalur district of Karnataka. From these 7 seeds, coffee grew to become an important crop for Indian people providing the livelihood of many farmers. Today, Baba Budan is still credited by many India people for bringing the seeds to India.„
IKEA cooperates with ABC group, the total certified size of the group is 1473 Ha. Approximately 2377 people work at ABC Group.
One of the group plantations is Theerthagundi estate. Theerthagundi means ‘Holy waterfall valley’ in the local language. According to the site there is strictly no use of child labor. A good communication network and roads ensure easy access to the nearby government hospital and schools in town. There is free education for the children on the farms in schools within/near the estates. There is a dispensary with trained medical staff and a creche for children. Housing facilities, electricity supply are provided and paved roads connecting the estates to major commercial hubs in the state. Employees have access to recreational facilities and places of worship.
The website states that the biggest challenge of getting UTZ CERTIFIED was changing the mindset of the people living on the estates while helping them understand the importance of education and primary health care.
Baba Budan´s set on his pilgrimage with his seven 7 Yemen coffee seeds and he changed lives of great number of people in India as they started growing and trading with coffee. Centuries later there is another pilgrimage of developed countries that also come from the west to help people on the east. Thanks to their socially responsible decisions and efforts of one particular case more than two thousand people in India can lead decent lives because they have access to education, health care and good incomes for families.
Next time I am having my coffee after shopping, it will have a completely diferent taste for me - from good to excellent!