Mother Parkers, one of the most important roasters in North America, has joined the Global Coffee Platform to combine their resources and activities with other sustainability leaders and make meaningful contributions to the livelihoods of coffee farming communities throughout the world. To celebrate their membership, GCP interviewed Shannon Higgins, Director, Corporate Sustainability and GCP Board Member.
Shannon Higgins, Director, Corporate Sustainability and GCP Board Member.
Global Coffee Platform. Shannon, welcome to the Global Coffee Platform. Please introduce Mother Parkers to the GCP Community.
Shannon Higgins. Mother Parkers was founded in 1912, in Toronto Canada. We are focused on coffee, tea and other complimentary drinks. As a family business, we have four plants and two corporate offices. We are more than one thousand employees and our mission is to provide better beverage experiences.
GCP. Tell us a bit more about your company’s engagement with coffee sustainability.
S.H. One of the three pillars in our Mother Parkers Sustainability is sourcing our coffee and tea with integrity and we have four key areas that fall under this pillar. The first one is supporting the farmer’s education and livelihood at origin; the second is advancing in human rights at origin; the third minimizing environmental impact at origin and finally developing transparency in our supply chain. We developed our own goals using the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) as we moved forward towards crafting our strategy within our own framework.
GCP. Which activities have you been conducting to achieve those goals?
S.H. We started the Water Wise Coffee Program in Ethiopia, where today we have converted 71 wet mills. This is a milestone for the community, as previously they were unable to wash their clothes in the river, use that water to irrigate their crops and feed their water stock. We see now a real significant impact since we are on the ground with that program.
GCP. Is there any other project you are working on?
Moving into this year, we will be developing a project in Honduras. We are excited to continue expanding to the coffee growing communities and make a real impact.
S.H. What excites you about becoming a GCP Member?
What excites me the most about this membership is the opportunity to be a part of alarger diverse group in the coffee sector. I think one of the important things to tackle is the disconnection between roasters and what is actually happening in the countries of origin. One of the benefits of becoming a GCP Member is that we get a great connection with what’s happening in the countries and we can connect directly with the Country Platforms to really address those sector issues that make a difference.
GCP. What type of activities would you like to get involved in?
S.H. Through the Global Coffee Platform, Mother Parkers would like to be involved in the Collective Action Networks. They are a way to engage with other roasters, NGO’s, people involved in the coffee sector from producing countries all the way through to the final process and I think it is a great opportunity for us to be able to collaborate. That’s the key for GCP: for us to come together, talk about the issues at hand and work on making change at scale for a more sustainable coffee sector.
GCP. What could fellow members expect from you as a new GCP Member?
GCP Members can expect an effort to continuous learning from Mother Parkers and us as a North American roaster. We can share experiences and our best practices and be able to teach people and also receive the learnings from others. We also want to ensure that we are sharing that responsibility to become a more sustainable coffee sector.
Interested to know more about Mother Parkers and potential opportunities for member collaboration? Please get in touch.
Not yet a member? Check out our Members’ page and learn more about the advantages of joining GCP.