Submitted by: Light Years IP
Categories: Fair Trade & Supply Chain
Posted: Nov 16, 2007 – 09:50 AM EST
Nov. 16 /CSRwire/ - LONDON and ADDIS ABABA - November 16 2007 - A London based independent coffee importer, D.R. Wakefield (DRW), has joined the network of licensed distributors for Ethiopia's trademarked coffees of Sidamo, Yirgacheffe, Harar/Harrar. D.R. Wakefield has already shown its willingness to be an active member of the network, reaching out to other roasters and encouraging them to sign the initiative. Wakefield's recent signing brings the number of UK coffee roasters and distributors to eight.
D.R. Wakefield is a deep believer in creating strong relationships with coffee growers throughout the world. This has not only ensured that they receive high quality coffee, but also that the farmers are being treated as business partners. D.R. Wakefield was among the first in the UK to import Rainforest Alliance certified, Fairtrade certified, and organic coffees.
D.R. Wakefield traditionally has bought coffee from Ethiopia through an exporter to guarantee the high quality coffee of Ethiopia. In recent years, the company has been reaching out in more non-traditional ways of buying coffee in Ethiopia by building a partnership with the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, which enables DRW to supply organic and Fairtrade coffee. The recent signing of the licensing agreement with Ethiopia will further strengthen this relationship.
Simon Wakefield, managing director of the company, said of the agreement, "I signed because I felt it was the right thing to do - the coffees and their names belong to the Ethiopian Farmers. It is too easy to forget what it means when you see a traders offer list just stipulating "Sidamo 2" when in reality it is much more than that - as custodians of these coffees we owe it to the farmers to do our best to ensure that the long established names do not get misrepresented or diluted."
Currently there are 32 licensed distributors of Ethiopia's trademarked coffee. An extensive campaign is going on to attract more companies to sign the agreement that recognizes Ethiopia as the owner of these premium coffees with other new licensees signing up this month in Japan, South Africa and Canada.
Due to the success Ethiopia has had in the coffee sector, it has been asked by the Specialty Coffee Association of America to be the Portrait Country at the 2008 annual conference held in Minneapolis. This is a great honor as Ethiopia will be the first African producing country to have the opportunity to showcase its Fine Coffees Initiative as well as share its rich heritage, history, and culture with other participants at the conference.
EIPO representatives in Addis commented: "We are delighted to see a critical mass of companies coming together in the United Kingdom and look forward to working together in 2008 on joint marketing promotions to raise consumer awareness of the unique and distinctive coffees Ethiopia has to offer and their vital importance to the growers and our economy."
D R Wakefield: Simon Wakefield +44 (20) 7202 2620
EIPO Addis: Wondwossen Belete +251 1 1551 1344
Ethiopian Embassy London: Gail Warden +44 (20) 7589-7212
Light Years IP London: Steve Williams +44 (20) 7801 9441
For more information on Ethiopia's Trademarking and Licensing Initiative see the dedicated website: www.ethiopiancoffeenetwork.com