Importer Sustainable Harvest Absorbs Twin Trading in London

Sustainable Harvest and Founder and CEO David Griswold at the 2018 Let’s Talk Coffee event in Colombia. Daily Coffee News photo.

Less than three weeks after the UK-based charity nonprofit Twin announced it was ceasing operations, United States coffee importer Sustainable Harvest has taken over the coffee importing and development organization Twin Trading.

Representatives of Sustainable Harvest told Daily Coffee News that the Portland, Oregon-based company will work to carry on the Twin Trading legacy, which has been tied to supporting smallholder farmers through equitable and sustainable trading practices, on-the-ground development programming and more.

Twin launched as a charity organization in 1985 before beginning to import coffee in 1988, and it has since racked up numerous accolades for its lasting work in sustainable agriculture and international development. On Oct. 18, Twin announced it was dissolving, saying, “After facing significant financial pressure over the past year, we have reached a point where we are unable to continue.”

Sustainable Harvest has not publicly shared the financial terms of the deal, though officials confirmed that the Twin Trading office will bear the Sustainable Harvest name as of today.

“Twin was an inspiration for me when founding Sustainable Harvest and it will be an absolute honor to serve Twin’s customers,” David Griswold, the founder and CEO of Sustainable Harvest, said in an announcement released today. “We are committed to maintaining Twin’s spirit and I have no doubt that together we will dream up new ways to use coffee to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges.”

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Daily Coffee News photo.

The acquisition gives Sustainable Harvest its first major office presence in Europe, keeping the Twin Trading team in place in London. Matt Earlam, head of the former Twin Trading, will now lead UK and European operations for Sustainable Harvest.

Over the past 10 years, according to Twin’s own estimates, the group has generated $129 million of Fairtrade business, paid $9.8 million of additional premiums to farmers and paid more than 32% above local market prices for coffee.

“Sustainable Harvest fully embodies the ethos of Twin,” said Earlam, “while providing the global platform, experience, and tools that our staff need to continue building a brighter future for all in the coffee world. We are pleased to resume full service for all of our partners with a renewed energy.”

Working with producer groups in South America and Southeast Asia, Twin Trading’s coffee-related efforts have also focused heavily on parts of East Africa. The organization has been central to the reemergence of the specialty coffee sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo, while most recent efforts have focused on strengthening producer networks in Rwanda, Uganda and Peru, among other regions.

Sustainable Harvest noted that Twin Trading’s efforts in the specialty coffee sector have demonstrated “exceptional commercial viability with increasing volumes.”

The move for Sustainable Harvest will also ultimately give green coffee buyers more options, particularly regarding offerings from emerging and dynamic African producer groups.

“As a board director for Twin Trading since 2016, I have admired the staff at Twin and Twin Trading for pursuing new strategies for growth,” Kim Ionescu, chief sustainability officer for the Specialty Coffee Association, said in the SH announcement. “To see Twin Trading and Sustainable Harvest, two longtime champions of producer-focused coffee trading, join forces is a boon to all who believe in different ways of doing business.”

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