Before delving into the pricing of green, you should visit your mission as a company. How roasters source coffee and determine prices should be informed by the mission of the organisation. North Star Coffee Roasters, for example, has an approach to pricing that is closely aligned with their sourcing strategy: prioritising micro-entrepreneurs, taking responsibility to learn, and building long-lasting relationships that are dependable and fully collaborative. This philosophy, in turn, informs their take on pricing models: trust the prices requested by the partners independent of the c-market.
How you want to build your supply chain can also inform your pricing. You may build long-term relationships with producers to support the sustainability of the farm businesses and to agree on fixed (or relatively less volatile) prices. “As a small business, price stability is important to us so we prioritise long term partnerships where possible in the hope that forward contracting and increasing the volume of the coffee we are able to buy can help pricing to become consistent,” says Holly.
According to the green buyer, sourcing strategies like this can help companies stand out amongst their competitors. “I think our sourcing approach has helped us immensely in being able to build some really engaged partnerships”, she starts. “Not only has it helped us access some fantastic coffees, but it has also helped us build a real community amongst our wholesale customers who become united around these partnerships and the people involved. Our customer retention is pretty fantastic and I think it is not only down to the service we offer but also to the value we can add to their experience of coffee,” she adds.
Top questions to answer when building a sourcing strategy
- How impactful will our purchase be here to the producer and farmworkers?
- If farmworkers are employed during the harvest season, how is their well-being taken into account in any accommodation/meals provided, and in their working conditions?
- Are principles of agroforestry used to produce coffee in an environmentally responsible manner?
- Is there potential to grow a long term relationship, increasing our impact over time?
- What are the most pressing needs/issues for this producer?
- How can we best support?
- Will the coffee fill a certain gap on our offer list either through flavour profile or impact area?
- Does the coffee have the potential to delight our customers?
- What will this partnership contribute to the outcomes we are striving for?