Women's Earth & Climate Action Network, International
The Women's Earth & Climate Action Network is a solutions-based, multi-faceted effort established to engage women worldwide to take action as powerful stakeholders in climate change and sustainability solutions. For Our Earth and Future Generations A project of Women's Earth and Climate Caucus and its partner eraGlobal Alliance

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Java Mountain Coffee

Organization: Java Mountain Coffee
City/Country: Java, Indonesia


Java Mountain Coffee Java Mountain Coffee Java Mountain Coffee

Some statistics about the cup of coffee on your breakfast table in the morning, or in your hand as you travel to work: Of all the human labor that goes into producing coffee, around 80% is done by rural women.One kilo of green coffee – about 2.2 pounds – makes 80 lattes, retailing at about $3 a cup. That’s around $240 for a kilo of coffee. The women who produce it are paid just $1.75 per day.

These are just three of the reasons why we believe you and other coffee drinkers around the world will eventually prefer Java Mountain Coffee over any other. Our mission is to disrupt and bring to an end, once and for all, to the outdated supply chain model of coffee production and distribution in Indonesia which was set up 300 years ago by the Dutch, set up by men for men.

How the global coffee business is done has hardly changed in all that time. Fairtrade International estimates that 42% of the supply chain in coffee is controlled by just three companies. And, of course, almost 100% of the whole chain is run by men who prefer to deal with men, not with the women farmers who grow the beans and bring in the harvest.

On 8 March 2015, International Women's Day, we launched our locally based indigenous social enterprise using the UN Women Empowerment Principles as our guide. We aim to empower one million women to assist control their farming and their financial dealings with global coffee drinkers and retailers. We aim to plant 3 million seedlings by 2020, both coffee plants and the kind of trees that will give the coffee bushes the vital shade they need and, provide secondary household income from crops such as fruit. We aim to help women farmers run their businesses in a way that is sustainable and environmentally sound.

But what is it that will make Java Mountain Coffee so different to the coffee you can buy now? When we produce our coffee, it will be the first time in over 300 years that beans from Java will be carefully quality micro roasted at origin within days after harvesting by local women, packaged fresh and sent to global markets ready for sale.

In Indonesia, so many of our country’s resources and commodities are exported in their natural state, and international companies reap the value-added rewards of processing them elsewhere. But this is an outdated supply chain model and is not sustainable for people and our planet. Modern transport, modern processing techniques and modern packaging technology all mean that there is no reason why Indonesian farmers - most of them women - can’t earn these premiums on their produce for themselves.

We want to move away from the current system which means that green coffee in its raw, unprocessed form is stored here after harvest, sometimes for months, then sent to the global markets where again it is stored before being roasted. And even then it can sit in warehouses for months or years before consumers drink it.

But Java Mountain Coffee will represent another ‘first’, because it is the first time anywhere that women have taken charge of the coffee supply chain to claim their right to equitable treatment within that chain. At least 10% of the value of every sale will be invested in women’s farming through our ‘sustainability’program. The program is a collaboration of global certification programmes; Fairtrade, RainForest Alliance, UTZ Certified, organic and carbon-neutral certified by the GoldStandardFoundation and our nursery program.

While these global certification programs have made some contribution to helping farmers get a fairer deal for their produce, they have done little to address the question of gender. Yet this is key, since so much farming is done by women and most receive only a fraction of the value of their crops.

Fairtrade International, for instance, has been operating for 27 years and has roots from here in Java. Yet among its 1.5 million certified farmer and worker members, it has just 25% women farmer and worker participation. At least it has data about gender – none of the other certification programs holds any specific information yet about how many participants or producers are women.

Fairtrade International’s estimate is that while women do over 80% of the coffee production, they earn 7% or less of the possible income their labour generates within the coffee supply chain. Please help us to change this for the good of people and the planet.

photo credits: that wild road photography