Coffee Farmer Drying Beans Minas Gerais, Brazil

As part of Verité’s ongoing work to improve labor practices in the Latin American coffee sector under the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Cooperation on Fair, Free, Equitable Employment (COFFEE) Project, this year we are launching pilot projects in three key coffee producing countries — Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico.

The pilot projects will involve field testing of innovative and cost-effective tools developed as part of the COFFEE Project’s Socially Sustainable Sourcing Toolkit (S3T), which contains 12 practical tools aligned with the eight steps of USDOL’s Comply Chain model.

The pilot projects — designed in collaboration with private sector, civil society, and industry association partners — will enable the COFFEE Project to test approaches to improving working conditions for farmworkers, and provide opportunities for refining tools and good practices.

Promoting ethical recruitment in the coffee sector of Minas Gerais, Brazil
In partnership with local civil society organizations and coffee companies, the pilot project in Minas Gerais, Brazil focuses on the ethical recruitment of labor for Brazilian coffee farms. This project includes desk research and surveys to increase understanding of labor migration and recruitment dynamics in the Brazilian coffee sector; trainings on identifying, addressing, and preventing recruitment-related risks; development of tools focused on the screening and monitoring of labor brokers; and the piloting of tools and ethical recruitment models on select coffee farms.

Addressing risks related to piece-rate pay in the Colombian coffee sector
The pilot project in Colombia seeks to promote better working conditions in the Colombian coffee sector by addressing risks related to piece-rate payment systems. This project will be backed by strong research on good harvesting practices with the aim of creating an alternative payment system for coffee harvesting. Through a separate, privately-funded project, Verité will carry out a living wage and living income study, which the COFFEE project will leverage to inform private sector dialogue on coffee pricing mechanisms.

Building capacity to identify and address labor issues in the Mexican coffee sector
The pilot project in Mexico involves development and pilot deployment of an online training curriculum focused on identifying, addressing, and preventing labor violations in the Mexican coffee sector. The full curriculum includes 12 asynchronous learning modules and five instructor-led trainings divided into core curriculum and electives, allowing participants to choose the elective modules that best suit their availability, needs, and priorities.

For more information on the COFFEE Project or any one of these pilot projects, please contact Andrés Montenegro at



Photo credit: T photography/

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