Honduras is one of the world’s largest coffee growers, but it’s also a very poor country, with almost two-thirds of the population below the poverty line, according to the World Bank. Feeling stuck in an environment that offers little opportunity to get ahead, many young people fall into a life of gangs and crime through intimidation or the promise of status and riches.
Enter Kenco’s recently launched Coffee vs. Gangs program, developed in partnership with JWT London. The coffee brand is sponsoring a yearlong education program for 20 at-risk youth, who will live on a coffee farm and learn the skills required to work in the industry. The effort is detailed on a microsite, coffeevsgangs.com. The program is part of a €200 million “Coffee Made Happy” effort from parent company Mondelēz to make coffee growing around the globe more sustainable by 2020; the company is looking to work with a million small-scale farmers to push a variety of improvements in agricultural and labor practices.
Kenco’s effort illustrates the concept of “shared value,” with the company supporting a good cause while also helping itself by ensuring at least a small supply of well-trained youth. Meanwhile the program helps assure conscientious consumers that, among all the coffee brands claiming sustainability, Kenco is one that’s deserving of their support.