QUALITY AND SUSTAINABILITY: A SINGULAR IDEA
For illy, quality and sustainability are an inseparable pair: only the truly excellent is sustainable, and anything worth sustaining must be excellent.
Sustainability has three-fold implications at illy: economic, social and environmental.
Economic sustainability is pursued precisely through the creation of value for all stakeholders, from farmers who earn above market prices in exchange for meeting quality standards, to the consumer, who enjoys a better coffee experience thanks to this quality.
Social sustainability is based on the concept of individual growth and self-fulfillment, starting from coffee-growing communities enjoying improved living conditions due to rising incomes.
Finally, environmental sustainability is achieved through respect for the planet through, for example low-impact growing practices and recyclable packaging.
Sustainable development for illy is a continuous balance of improvement and innovation on one hand, and of responsibility for people and the environment on the other: an ambitious, deliberate balance between the achievements of modernity and the possibility for those who come after us to enjoy, at very least, the sameopportunities as we do today.
In March, 2011, illy became the world’s first companyto earn the Responsible Supply Chain Process certification from DNV (Det Norske Vertias), one of the world’s foremost, independent industrial process arbiters. The certification attests to the sustainable practices of illy’s supply chain, and in particular, to the quality of illy’s relationships with its suppliers: the world’s highest-caliber coffee growers.
illy’s relationships with farmers who nurture the world’s finest Arabica are– personal, long-lasting and founded on strong mutual benefit, resting on four key pillars:
The process starts with illyagronomists and technicianscombing four continents for the bestgrowers of Arabica, and for growerswith the potential to become the best, by willing to commit to illy quality standards. Selection protocols vary, recognizing the on-the-ground realities of each country. In Brazil, for example, growers are chosen though a competition, The Ernesto Illy Quality Prize for Espresso.
2. TRAINING AND INCENTIVES
Agronomists from illy’s Università of Caffè program transfer 80 years of coffee experience and wisdom togrowers, spanning in-field cultivation techniques through business management strategies —an exchange aimed at excellence
3. RECOGNIZE QUALITY. GUARANTEE A PROFIT.
The only way to truly sustainableproduction is through rewarding farmers who achieve high quality standards. illy does just that by adding a substantial margin to international market Arabica prices, directly payingfarmers a premium that accounts for the greater cost and effort required toachieve superior quality.
4. BUILD A COMMUNITY AND CULTURE OF EXCELLENCE
The right kind of culture naturally spreads, and creates interest among the like-minded. Illy’s works every day to develop a culture of coffee excellence throughout its growing regions, in a variety of creative ways. For example, il Clube illy do Café.
In 2000, illy founded the Clube illy do Cafè in Brazil which now includes more than 600 growers. Through the program, illy establishes direct relationships with thegrowers, based on the exchange of knowledge and mutual growth.