|CALL 2 BUSINESS Trade Fair
April 27 – 30, 2013
Prepared by Dave Price
July 13, 2013
Call 2 Business Trade Fair Executive Summary
[From my viewpoint – Adjusted for ALL audiences]
Being the second most traded commodity in the world behind oil, coffee is a major player on the world stage and it touches millions of lives daily. In my opinion, and I believe others would agree, it is no coincidence that the countries that produce coffee are some of the poorest in the world (25 million people in over 50 countries – most are developing countries) and some of the least reached. Ironically, like the coffee producing areas of the world the coffee consuming areas of the world also suffer from various forms of poverty, exploitation, and hopelessness.
Using coffee as a vehicle for positively changing people’s lives and for benefitting society is not a new idea. In some ways, the world is leading the charge. In other ways, the Body is. Even within the Body, there are hundreds, possibly thousands of stories of individuals, organizations, and networks that have developed solutions to implement CAM.
Within the believing community, many are becoming aware of the fact that there is a great amount of duplication of effort, wasting of resources (i.e. time, money, knowledge, skills, connections, etc…), and lack of synergy that if reversed could unleash a kingdom movement targeted at addressing many of the challenges in the coffee producing and coffee consuming areas of the world.
The goal of CAM, in my opinion, is to develop a holistic approach to infuse dignity, trust, and hope into every life that is connected with coffee by using successful business, community development, and spiritual models to accomplish it.
It was based upon this premise that close to 100 coffee and like-minded individuals came together at the end of April for the Call 2 Business Trade Fair (C2BTF) in Chiang Mai, Thailand to investigate coffee as a vehicle for hope. Each person brought their individual expertise, thoughts, purposes, passions, and businesses to share. The focus was CAM.
The purpose of this document is to provide highlights to this event and suggest some possible next steps.
Due to the fact that the C2BTF overlapped with the Global Congress, and arrivals of the participants varied, there were several formal and informal gatherings that took place regarding CAM.
Planned CAM Events where I was involved:
- 4/27/13 (6:45 – 8:00 a.m.)- Zions Cafe – informal gathering of CAMers (16 individuals) including Trade Fair exhibitors and participants (i.e. Abonzo Coffee, Greenhouse Coffee, Hemispheres Coffee, Local Livelihood, Saffron Coffee, Top of the World Coffee, Zions Cafe)
- 4/27/13 (1:30 – 2:30 p.m.) – Roundtable discussion (43 attendees, ~20 countries) – Gathering point for Global Congress participants to discuss CAM. Involvement included investigating through business ownership, every part of the coffee value chain (farmer to cafe)
- 4/29/13 (10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) – Exploring the Coffee Industry (44 attendees, ~20 countries) – Involvement included investigating through business ownership, every part of the coffee value chain (farmer to cafe). Launched follow up task groups.
- 4/29/13 (3:00 – 4:00 p.m.) – Building a Global Industry Association (15 attendees) – discussed association dynamics
Below, I have included a few of my observations and although many are out there, I provided an observed challenge and a possible solution to consider:
Awareness to Action!
Of the close to 90 people who participated at some level in these events, everyone was at a different place regarding their understanding of CAM. Once the foundation was laid and awareness was reached, individuals desired to move quickly to action. The concept of CAM and developing a CAM network is easily understood, however, developing synergy around the solutions, next steps and owners is very complex. By the end of the events, engagement was high and many individuals participated in task groups to discuss the topics and formulate a basic strategy.
Challenge: Maintaining momentum of the CAM movement. Collaboration, resource sharing and maximization, and a global integration of a network remain fragmented and duplicative in some cases.
Possible solution: Create a common platform (physical and virtual) and ongoing networking events where CAMers can gather, share, strategize and execute against major obstacles.
Cultural Context is key!
Being in Thailand is no different than being in any other part of the world, in that, each location has a relevant context. Never having been to Thailand before, but having traveled to other cultures, I became keenly aware of the cultural dynamics between people groups (amongst Thailand peoples but also amongst foreigners, as well), and observed numerous challenging interactions amongst believers.
Entering a new context like Thailand reminded me how crucial listening and observing is versus dictating and solving. Many times, the best solutions come from within, but creating the environment and/or providing support for them to grow, although essential, is very complex.
A solution dictated by an uninformed, well-intentioned visitor might further exploit the people it’s intended to help.
Challenge: The rush towards doing business, closing the deal, imposing a solution and accelerating profitability without cultural context and sensitivity (even by those in that culture) can erode and destroy the reason why we are there, which is empowering and loving the people.
Possible solution: Develop cross-functional, cross-cultural representation that helps mitigate the problems incurred by intercultural differences, which in turn increases the ability to get business done faster. Empower in-country individuals and organizations in a way that helps them stand up, and own the solution, allowing the network to grow organically but from within the context where many challenges need to be resolved.
The Resources of the Body are vast:
I enjoy bringing people together in a way that connects them and empowers them to leverage their synergies and strengths. This 2 year journey for me has been a continual reminder that our Heavenly Father creates each person with a unique set of gifts that when deployed can unleash immense glory for Him.
This event brought together individuals from around the globe who are gifted and desire to use their gifts and resources for the kingdom.
How do we/I help create an environment where each person/organization can contribute at the level they desire and help start a CAM movement where millions of lives are being impacted for the kingdom?
Challenge: Lack of knowledge of resources (i.e. time, expertise, money, knowledge, skills, networks, etc…) contributes to duplication, higher failure rate of businesses/initiatives, gaps in the chain, and longer time to solution or market.
Possible Solution: Organizing and managing a repository or directory of individual and organizational resources and making it available to members, ensuring that there is identity protection for those in creative access countries.
Many challenges. Many solutions.
A casual observer and novice, like myself can, when faced with one of the many challenges in the coffee industry (i.e. the disparity between the high prices paid by consumers and the low wages/revenues received by farmers), become quickly aware of the many challenges that are apparent at the individual, the family, the community, and the national level. Taking time to listen deeper and get assistance from some local experts, can help one begin to unfold a much more complex set of challenges. If we really think about it in our own context, we can quickly realize how complicated our own situations are, as well.
In Thailand, I was reminded that in the coffee industry there are very complex challenges related to coffee and very comprehensive solutions that exist. In addition, I remembered that there are many symptomatic challenges (i.e. poverty leading to starvation, lack of education, trafficking, etc…) that exist as well. As I looked around the Trade Fair, it became very apparent, there are many initiatives or businesses that are complementary to the direct coffee-related initiatives that can help address these symptomatic challenges in the coffee industry.
For example, poverty within the coffee farming community can result in (to name a few) starvation, lack of education, loss of dignity, trafficking, and a perpetual cycle of all of the above. At the Trade Fair, there were freedom businesses, entrepreneurial opportunities, water purification, aquaponics solutions, education, micro financing/funding options, in addition to the coffee value chain businesses.
Developing a holistic view and approach will require a holistic solution set. Mike Mann, who I had the extreme pleasure of meeting in person on this trip, works with Integrated Tribal Development Program (ITDP and Lanna Coffee). He, and ITDP, is one example of an individual/organization who has focused on developing holistic solutions (i.e. schools, medical clinics, agricultural solutions, etc…) for the various hill tribe people groups throughout Thailand. In addition, Mike and his team have received two contracts (that I am aware of) from Starbucks to include their coffee in one of Starbucks’ Asian blends.
Challenge: How do we develop a holistic assessment of needs within the coffee producing and consuming regions and pair them with a holistic set of solutions that can be implemented within the network of the Body?
Possible Solution: Establish partnerships with organizations that are currently assessing and addressing these needs and empower, not duplicate their efforts.
If the environment is right, things will grow.
Like agriculture, in order for something to grow and produce a bumper crop harvest, all of the variables in the environment need to be just right. Within CAM, the environment needs developed for continual and exponential growth and harvest to happen.
For me personally, I realized that my focus needs to be, not on creating all of the solutions, but on carrying the banner for the CAM movement, helping create the environment for visionaries to grow their own solutions, and connecting those individuals to others in a way that maximizes resources, economies of scale, and efficiencies.
In my opinion, CAM is in its infancy stages as a network and potential movement. It also has many similarities to the BAM movement. As a result, it is important to establish a common language, understanding, protocol, vision, and strategy that people and organizations can get passionate about and own. Awareness. Adoption. Action.
The goal in doing this is that there would be a resource reallocation from duplication of efforts, inefficiency in systems, and failed initiatives to the now popular term quadruple bottom line (people, purpose, planet and planet) with the ultimate end resulting in the Glory of the King and the expansion of His kingdom.
For more on the BAM movement, see http://www.matstunehag.com/2013/05/08/bam-the-olive-tree/ or http://www.matstunehag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/BAM-The-Movement-color.pdf.
Very practical next steps are already being taken by CAMers. Discussions are taking place on topics such as developing: financing mechanisms, a logistics association(s), a just trade association, certification labeling protocols, and organization to manage the CAM network.
With close to 100 names from the C2BTF, in addition to another 100 names or so, in the International Coffee Cooperative LinkedIn group and email distribution, I believe we sit at a pivotal phase in this initiative. This is an impossible task for me, for us to accomplish without the favor, wisdom, and direction from the Father. It’s easy to see that there is a great deal of interest and synergy around this topic. The question is how do we harness this energy, talent, and momentum, into a global initiative with kingdom impact.
The next steps, within the next 6 – 12 months, as I see them for me:
- Solicit input from CAMers and stakeholders
- Further the CAM movement via social media and communication
- Develop a comprehensive business plan
- Create the environment (i.e. organization, website, contact directory, etc…)
- Develop a board of stakeholders from throughout the global coffee value chain
- Gather and align resources towards a gathering of CAM organizations/individuals and complementary organizations/individuals
- Research branding and developing a certification
- Organize the 1st CAM event in conjunction with a national US coffee event
Next steps that were discussed from the event:
- Solve the financing dilemma (i.e. global fund)
- Establish logistics/supply chain solution
- Create a governance board of key stakeholders
- Develop replicable sustainable business models for each component of the coffee value chain
- Develop a CAM knowledge sharing mechanism
- Increase access for specialty and non-specialty coffee
There are 2 Appendices which include notes taken from the “Exploring the Coffee Industry” gathering and subsequent group conversations. Review them at your leisure.
The calls to action are:
- What are your gifts?
- Where can you help?
Areas of need/expertise:
- Data gathers, organizers, analyzers
- Marketing and Social media – viral marketers
- Web developers and designers
- Networking infrastructure
- Event organizers
- Coffee experts in each area of the coffee value chain
- Global kingdom-minded thinkers
- Board Members
- … and so on