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Westrock Pledges to Responsibly Source All Coffee, Tea by 2025

2 min read

Westrock Coffee Company LLC of Little Rock announced Tuesday its pledge to “responsibly source” all its coffee and tea by 2025, meaning it will purchase and process in a manner that is fair to the people who grow and handle crops, employees, peers and environments.

Matt Smith, executive vice president of global supply chain, quality and sustainability, said Tuesday’s pledge continues sustainability efforts that began 12 years ago. The pledge will affect 173 million pounds of coffee and tea, he said.

Right now, 61% of Westrock’s coffee and tea is responsibly sourced from 35 locations worldwide. The company plans to raise that number to 100% by building a global supplier assurance framework in partnership with the Committee on Sustainable Assessment and the British Standards Institution.

Westrock’s supplier network will be audited for compliance, and the company said it will deploy more personnel in key supply chains to quantify the social, environmental, and entrepreneurial impact of coffee and tea where it originates.

In addition, Westrock has proprietary online platforms that help 106,865 farmers engage with its sustainability strategy and reassure customers that its products are responsibly sourced.

“We are proud of the technical services provided to these farmers. The resulting 146% farm production growth was a direct byproduct of our on-the-ground understanding of what farmers and our supply chains needed to thrive,” Smith said. “Scaling our services and transparent supply chains allows us to address the current and future needs of our partnering farmers in a way that outsourcing our sustainability efforts cannot.”

Scott Ford, co-founder and CEO, said sustainability is more than an initiative. 

“It is a symbiotic relationship that links company, cultivator and consumer,” he said. “It balances need with opportunity, efficiency with excellence, and success with responsibility. Our industry can only reach its full potential if we facilitate absolute transparency and pursue sustainability from farmer to customer. This work begins with responsible sourcing.”

This year, Westrock topped Arkansas Business’ inaugural list of the largest private investment offerings ranked by total investment amount sold. Westrock raised a total of $561.7 million. Last year, Westrock purchased S&D Coffee & Tea of Concord, North Carolina, in a deal worth $405 million.

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