About the Project


The Cooperation On Fair, Free, Equitable Employment (COFFEE) Project is a four-year initiative (2019-2023) that is working in collaboration with private sector actors and other stakeholders on the development, testing, and refinement of tools and best practices for the proactive prevention of labor issues in the Latin American coffee sector.

Project Objectives
Through the development and implementation of the tools, online training modules, and pilot projects, the project aims to:

  • Improve the adoption and successful implementation of ethical and sustainable sourcing practices in coffee supply chains;

  • Promote acceptable working conditions in the coffee sector by strengthening the knowledge and capacities of key actors in the supply chain; and

  • Promote the elimination of child labor and forced labor in the coffee sector.



Key Elements of the Project

With the support, collaboration, and leadership of our partners in the region, the COFFEE Project will work as a hub for dialogue, learning, and the development of tools and best practices for the identification, prevention, and remediation of labor risks. The key elements of the project are:

  • The creation of a Socially Sustainable Sourcing Toolkit (S3T), based on USDOL’s Comply Chain model, in order to aid private sector stakeholders in improving labor conditions in the Latin American coffee sector

  • Trainings and guidance on the implementation of the S3T in coffee supply chains

  • Pilot projects in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, during which selected tools and innovative practices will be tested and refined

Our Partnership Model

The COFFEE Project has received the support of a range of prominent coffee companies sourcing over 60 percent of the world’s coffee, including four of the five largest coffee companies in the world. The project benefits from their collective knowledge, investment, and supplier networks. The companies that have signed on to partner with the COFFEE Project represent different segments of the coffee market (ultra-premium, specialty, and commercial grade coffee), as well as different levels of the supply chain (retailers, roasters, traders, and producer organizations). These private sector stakeholders have helped us to gain the essential buy-in and collaboration of coffee producers in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico.

Verité is also partnering with a range of multi-stakeholder initiatives, civil society organizations, international organizations, certification bodies, and government institutions to advance our common goal of improving working conditions for farmworkers employed in global coffee supply chains.

Sample of Project Partners and Supporters

Private Sector
  • Allegro Coffee Company
  • Caravela Coffee
  • Counter Culture Coffee
  • GoodNews Coffee
  • Intelligentsia Coffee Inc.
  • Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE)
  • Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP)
  • Nestlé Nespresso S.A.
  • Nestlé S.A.
  • RGC Coffee Inc.
  • Starbucks Corporation
  • The J.M. Smucker Company
  • Union Hand-Roasted Coffee Company
CSOs, MSIs, and Industry Associations
  • Alianza Hortofrutícola Internacional para el Fomento de la Responsabilidad Social, A.C. (AHIFORES)
  • Asociación Nacional de la Industria del Café A.C. de México (ANICAFE)
  • Asociación Colombiana para la Excelencia del Café (ASECC)
  • Catholic Relief Services US (CCB)
  • Conservation International
  • Cornell University
  • Global Coffee Platform (GCP)
  • Instituto Pacto Nacional pela Erradicação do Trabalho Escravo (InPACTO)
  • Instituto Trabalho Decente (ITD)
  • Rainforest Alliance
  • Solidaridad Network
  • Secretaría de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural de México (SADER)
  • Specialty Coffee Association (SCA)
  • Sustainable Coffee Challenge (SCC)
  • Ulula

Learning agenda and sustainability

The COFFEE Project team has created a learning agenda to intentionally guide learning and knowledge generation, focused on identifying needs and gaps in order to maximize impact and sustainability. This approach for intentional learning will help Verité to capture targeted insights emerging from the implementation of the COFFEE Project, informing decision-making processes, and fostering an adaptive mindset to better understand project impacts and results.


Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL-31476. This material does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the United States Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the United States Government. 100% of the total costs of the project is financed with federal funds, for a total of $2,200,000 dollars.