George Clooney has been the face of Nespresso for quite some time now… But the Ocean’s 11 star has never been just “eye-candy”. The actor has long stood-up and fought for global attention to humanitarian and political causes that he believes in. Today, small coffee farms in South Sudan can count Clooney as one one of their champions.
The star has often expressed his belief that the future of coffee lies in small farms, and has been raising the issue of need for investment in small farms in order to create a sustainable future for the coffee industry.
Nespresso, in partnership with non-profit organization TechnoServe has invested in setting up 500 small farms in South Sudan, a country that gained independence in 2011 but is afflicted with civil conflict, leading to little economic growth.
85% of coffee worldwide is grown by small farmers. Africa has more than 3 million small-scale coffee farms, but the actual farmers receive less than 10% of the retail price of coffee, often living on as little as two dollars a day.
Consumers in India and China are switching from tea to coffee, so demand for the beans is growing, but climate change, aging trees and disease make it a fragile livelihood for small farmers.
Clooney and Nespresso are trying to change the scenario. The coffee maker is trying to introduce a three-pronged approach, based on combining quality, sustainability and productivity principles. The result they hope to achieve is better coffee quality, improved social conditions, and higher income for the farmers.
And with a man like George Clooney at the helm, small coffee farmers can be sure of a smooth ride and rich dividends in the future.