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An Update on What We're Doing During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Posted by Andrew Ho on March 23, 2020 at 12:22 PM


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To our friends, families, colleagues and partners,

We hope that you are all doing your best to keep safe and level-headed as we all try to navigate these uncertain times together. This crisis has affected us all and our hearts go out to those who have been especially impacted by the spread of COVID-19 and the unprecedented measures taken to stem the pandemic. We want to offer our support and provide you with an update as we continue to approach the situation day-by-day. The reality is that things will get worse before they get better—but they will get better and we will come through this together.
Like many others, we have enacted company-wide protocols over the past months in order to protect our employees, friends, families, and communities while continuing to serve our roaster and producer partners.

Here’s what we are doing:

Maintaining Business Continuity. At this moment, there are no changes to import operations and all warehouses remain open. Ports also remain open, though we are closely monitoring developments—especially in California and New York/New Jersey, as well as major ports in Honduras and Brazil given recent government actions and unrest. We are still working to move all coffee as expected, but we know each day brings new challenges. We are actively watching all operations along the supply chain and will keep you updated as the situation unfolds.

Working Remote. Sustainable Harvest has long been a proponent of remote work and pushing the digital frontier. Our teams across all of our offices in Africa, Latin America, the UK, and the US are working remotely. All staff and departments are still reachable via the same communication channels. And, if like us, you could use some face-to-face contact, we use Zoom and would be happy to have a video chat!

Ensuring Quality Control. We have established a number of SCA compliant home labs in order to maintain QC. However, our Portland lab is still being managed by singular employees on staggered schedules to help maintain throughput and overall QC. All staff have been briefed on CDC guidelines and are maintaining strict hygiene and safety protocols.

Educating the Community. We must all help flatten the curve to keep from exacerbating the situation. After years of low coffee prices, coffee producers and their communities—already in crisis—cannot take much more. We have briefed our producer partners on health and safety guidelines and have compiled information in Spanish and English from the CDC. Please do your part to help share this information widely. In addition, we hosted a live webinar in conjunction with the CEO of SCA, Yannis Apostolopoulos, to address the many concerns regarding the status of the Specialty Coffee Expo and Re;co Symposium. You can find watch the webinar here.

Supporting Our Team. We are providing judgment-free cash advances to any employee experiencing financial stress as a result of sudden, unexpected costs due to the pandemic. We are also waiving caps on “sick time” in the event that employees or their family members contract the virus.

Freezing Travel. All employee travel, both domestic and international, have been frozen until further notice. Additionally, the Sustainable Harvest team will not be participating in any events, including the currently scheduled Specialty Coffee Expo in Portland. We have also canceled our post-Expo Let’s Talk Taste event at UC Davis. We encourage others to show good judgment and cancel travel and participation in events as well.

These are difficult and unpredictable times, and while no one can foresee how this will unfold, we want to assure you that we are here for you and are in this together. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

As a Certified B Corp and mission-first importer, we also believe that now is the time for us all to practice compassion and kindness. Now is the time to be creative about how we can all do our part to leverage our businesses, talent, and resources for the good of our communities. Now is the time for out of the box thinking. Together we can innovate new ways to help those in coffee whose lives are being forever altered.

If you have any questions or suggestions for improvement, please do not hesitate to reach out. Be strong, stay safe, and keep in touch!

Interested in learning more about Relationship Coffee? Get in touch!

Topics: News, Sustainable Harvest, Origin Update, Industry Update