ECOM’s Sustainability Management Services (SMS) was created 14 years ago as a part of our core strategy to help manage our clients’ sustainability needs. The delivery of sustainable practices and services began through adapted technical assistance and guidance to build farmers’ capacities, enabling them to reach certification. This field approach allowed SMS to build long-lasting relationships with farmers and to support their continuous training through multi-stakeholder partnerships.
Sustainability remains at the core of most of our clients’ business models. They have continued to invest not only in the farmers they source from, but also in in-house sustainability expertise.
Subsequently, SMS has had to reinvent itself to continue to add value to our stakeholders and to ECOM. We have developed new solutions, such as SMS code – a program with more relevant sustainability criteria – that enables ECOM to differentiate itself from the competition. SMS has leveraged its extensive investments in the field to develop new products and services – financial services and commercial nurseries, for example – that are required by our farmers and our clients to reach their sustainability goals.
SMS invests in R&D through the development of new products and production methods to strengthen farmers’ ability to adapt to environmental changes and to resist market fluctuations. SMS has not only developed new coffee plant hybrids, able to produce more in unpredictable environmental conditions, but has also created customized inputs packages essential to farmer’s increased productivity levels.
Investment in technology is of paramount importance. The development of the SMS Integrity platform enables ECOM and its clients to leverage data to enhance its offering.
Developing new solutions is only valuable if it can be replicated at scale. Today, SMS’ global reach stands at over 650,000 farmers across 23 countries, which is a key advantage that enables SMS to disseminate innovations rapidly and at scale.
The need for sustainable services continues to grow as our clients increasingly commit to greater sustainable goals. Although the enhanced level of commitment has yet to materialize into strong sustainable sales growth, global platforms such as the GCP or the WCF are seen as essential in helping bridge that gap. Establishing key partnerships and helping influence the agenda of such platforms will encourage SMS’ ability to focus on innovation, and will ultimately help ECOM maintain its leadership position in sustainability.