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Brief Published: 1 Dec 2020

Three Coffee Companies Promoting Inclusivity

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The coffee industry is working to improve inclusivity and increase equity for all workers

As we explain in The New Coffee Landscape, the industry is striving to improve inclusivity and increase equity for all workers. We highlight three players diversifying coffee culture.

  • The (Un)Learning Club: Anti-racism self-education – as detailed in The Brief – enters the coffee industry via The (Un)Learning Club. This professional group was launched by Nora Burkey, co-founder of US non-profit The Chain Collaborative, and South Carolina-based Diana Mnatsakanyan-Sapp, regional coordinator for Swedish oat milk brand Oatly. Through seminars led by BIPOC coffee professionals, participants unpick the coffee industry’s colonial legacy and discuss the improvements needed for BIPOC equity.
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The (Un)learning Club
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The (Un)learning Club
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The (Un)learning Club
  • Nguyen Coffee Supply: Brooklyn roaster Nguyen Coffee Supply aims to boost the reputation of Vietnamese coffee farmers, who are frequently pigeonholed in the coffee industry as growing only “low-quality” robusta beans. “I found it unfair that businesses wanted to leverage the cultural cachet of the trendy Vietnamese iced coffee but were not using real Vietnamese coffee beans, which means that the producers of Vietnamese coffee were not benefiting from this transaction,” said founder Sahra Nguyen. Nguyen sources all her beans directly from an organic family-owned farm in Vietnam and then roasts them in Brooklyn.
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Nguyen Coffee Supply
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Nguyen Coffee Supply
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Nguyen Coffee Supply
  • Starbucks’ DEI Goals: Starbucks recently announced it would link executive compensation to their ability to achieve diversity, equity and inclusion goals. This is part of the café chain’s aim to increase BIPOC representation within the organisation to at least 30% of corporate roles and 40% of retail and production positions by 2025. To support new hires, Starbucks launched a mentorship scheme for BIPOC employees, a strategy we explain in Nurturing Black Talent. It’s a smart move, and one that’s overdue as the company broadens its focus from Italian coffee culture to incorporate other regional rituals.

Stylus members can delve deeper into the food industry’s inclusivity push in our report Diversifying Food Narratives.

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Starbucks' Shauna McKenzie-Lee, managing director of the Chicago Roastery
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Starbucks shared stories of its Latinx employees for Hispanic Heritage Month
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