Dear Prospective Licensee and Network Member,
These are exciting times to be in the coffee industry. The Ethiopian Coffee Sector has been setting a precedent by trademarking its finest coffee brands around the globe and setting up a network of licensed distributors. This is great news for Ethiopia as well as anyone who distributes or retails Ethiopian coffees such as Sidamo, Harar (Harrar) and Yirgacheffe. Why? Even though it has just commenced, the Ethiopia Trademarking and Licensing Initiative is already producing some important impacts both within Ethiopia and in the market.
Within Ethiopia, many different stakeholders in the coffee sector have united in a new public-private grouping to support these trademarks and to prepare to invest in production for and promotion of these coffee brands. Better brand and supply management in Ethiopia and strategic promotion will clearly help create higher returns for everyone in the coffee chain. The Ethiopian Fine Coffee Stakeholder Committee includes farmers' cooperatives, private exporters and representatives of organisations that are directly responsible for Ethiopia's coffee sector (see 'About the Initiative' for the members of this committee).
Coffee companies joining the network of licensed distributors have an opportunity to work directly with the local Ethiopian Fine Coffee Stakeholder Committee and you will have direct input on the best ways to work together to make sure that this initiative is a success for producers and sellers alike: production and quality control programmes, farmer prices, retail pricing, promotional and brand management strategies.
This Initiative is now widely considered as a totally new type of socially responsible partnership. Coffee consumers are more attuned now than ever to the values of the coffee companies they buy from and companies behaviour towards developing countries efforts to protect and leverage their intellectual property is a new issue on the CSR agenda. More than 100,000 consumers around the world have already shown their interest in the IP issue and taken action in support of Ethiopia's trademarking efforts. In becoming a licensee and part of the network of licensed distributors you will be at the forefront of corporate best practice on intellectual property rights.
The larger goal of the initiative is to increase in absolute terms the incomes of the millions of people living in poverty within Ethiopia who are dependent on the coffee trade for their livelihoods. The Ethiopian Fine Coffee Stakeholder Committee believes that selling coffee profitably and alleviating poverty in Ethiopia are compatible objectives within this new innovative framework. Trade does not have to be a zero sum game. Many companies now coming forward to join the network of licensed distributors share this view. And so, while the goal of the Initiative is to return a higher percentage of the retail price to Ethiopia's coffee farmers, the unique and underlying proposition behind it is that the chain should be seen as a whole and benefits ‘grown’ actively and proactively by collaborative promotion and planning for and by all parties.
Specialty coffee markets are growing and brand management and focused marketing by Ethiopia and its licensed distributors will surely yield stellar business growth. We look forward to talking to you, so, when you are ready, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone one of the 'key contacts' nearest to you to arrange a consultation in person.