Lattitude Six: Coffee for Communities
Ecological commerce or sustainable business is a concept that has yet to be fully adopted by Papua New Guinean businesses. Of course, there are a handful of MNCs that have utilised the basic concept of sustainability too, one such example being Natulius Minerals‘ implemenation of its Nautilus CARES policy.
Of course realistically, Nautlius doesn’t care about ecological commerce, if they did, their entire business model would be different. Yes, the intent is there I suppose, but that intent is only a tactic, a reaction to the market and what the stakeholders of that market expect. Hollistically, the very nature of Nautilus’ operations rules it out of ever being truly sustainable.
However, there are some smaller companies operating within PNG that do fit the bill and I want to showcase one of them here – Lattitude Six. Lattitude Six was started in 2006 by Cherie West, after her husband died working in PNG for MAF. What originated with a conscience decision to help out the local economy has evolved into a solid platform supporting local PNG communities by opening up distribution channels to supply home-grown organic coffee from within remote PNG to the World.
What really impresses me about Lattitude Six is how their organisational culture is built around the core value of environmental justice, in other words, sustainability.
The company only buys PNG coffee that meet the following criteria:
- Not from an Ex-pat owned coffee plantation
- From shade-grown crops
- From farmers who use non-chemical methods to keep plants healthy and free of bugs
- From farmers who don’t use fuel-hungry machines for any part of the growing/picking/drying process
Not only is the coffee marketed directly sourced from the local informal economy, it’s organic, free of pesticides, and to top it off, Lattitude Six returns 10% of all sales back to growers for community based development projects.
Now if that isn’t fair trade, I don’t know what is.
To view a little presentation from Lattitude Six regarding environmental justice, click here.
To view the products and prices Lattitude Six offers, click here.