Woman holding green coffee in her hands

Sustainable supply chains

Responsibility during the purchasing process

Our sense of responsibility begins where we source our products – and therefore with the people in coffee- and tea-growing countries. As a family-run business, we care very deeply about working and living conditions – in particular those of coffee farmers and their families. Keeping a close eye on of the situation in the countries of origin and securing the livelihoods of future generations are topics that are particularly close to our hearts. That’s why responsible purchasing practices are an integral part of our company philosophy.

Partnerships at the coffee origin and transparent supply chains

We source our products responsibly, and our business relationships are based on long-standing and trusted partnerships. We focus on transparency along our supply chains in order to identify risks and react to any issues that may arise. During this process, we are firmly committed to respecting human rights and complying with environmental standards.

Higher revenues for the coffee farmers

As one of the largest importers of washed arabica beans from Ethiopia, we visit the country regularly to see things first-hand – not only in relation to coffee, but also to see how our project work is progressing. In addition to Ethiopia, we source coffee from more than 20 countries – mostly hand-picked arabica beans from highland regions. Arabica coffee is more challenging to cultivate than robusta and is more sophisticated in flavour. Arabicas are usually far more expensive, too – leading to higher revenues for the coffee farmers.

Working with certification organisations

Dallmayr coffees and teas from sustainable farms

We are always adding new certified coffees and teas to our product range. These products bear clearly recognisable seals that guarantee that the plantations are run using sustainable methods and that the farmers receive fair prices. We have been working with the following certification organisations for many years.

Naturally outstanding

Why coffees don’t necessarily need certification to be organic

Certified coffee from sustainable sources will often have an officially recognised seal on its packaging. However, coffees without these seals may nevertheless be sustainable and fairly traded. These beans may still have been farmed in an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable way, but simply not have the official seal to show it. That’s because obtaining certification can be expensive.

Mixed cropping and shade trees

Many coffee farms that work to organic standards have no access to these certifications. This is frequently the case in Ethiopia, where coffee trees are grown predominantly on small farms that use mixed cropping methods. These farms are run according to traditional practices, with hardly any use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Often, natural fertilisers are used – for example, from leftover coffee cherries. Other plants thrive on these farms, including banana trees or coconut palms, and these are beneficial to growing coffee. Thanks to their high, thick canopy of leaves, these shade trees protect the sensitive coffee plants from direct sunlight and heavy rainfall. The soil becomes better aerated and can hold more water, which protects it from erosion. Mixed cropping also prevents the spread of pests and helps to preserve biodiversity.

Everything by hand

Organic coffee or coffee grown on small farms with shade trees is environmentally friendly – and the harvests are far higher in quality. Coffee cherries ripen more slowly in the shade, as they have more time to develop their flavour, aroma and delicate acidity. This enhances their quality. In practice, shade trees are rare on large plantations – for the simple reason that they get in the way of the harvesting machines. In contrast, on smaller farms with shade trees, harvesting is carried out by hand. Using a method known as “picking”, only fully ripe, red coffee cherries are actually picked. And since a single branch can contain both ripe and unripe cherries at the same time, picking by hand is a labour-intensive process. Monoculture farms on the other hand use a method known as “stripping”. Here, a machine is used to quickly strip the coffee cherries from the bushes, regardless of how ripe they are.

A small hut in the rainforest

Four steps to purchasing – for more transparency in the supply chain

In addition to our cooperation with various certification organisations, we have a procurement and due diligence process that consists of four steps. These help us to reduce the risk of human rights violations or breaches against environmental protection regulations and allow us to respond to specific situations.

Our approach:
responsible purchasing in four steps