Taking too long? Close loading screen.

 

 

 

 

 

February 10, 2021      4 Minute Read


Our Best Coffee is Our People / El Mejor Café es Nuestra Gente

catalina gomez

Catalina Gomez

Global HR Director

TAGS

If there is one thing that we know at Caravela, it is that we have arrived where we are thanks to the work and effort of each of our team members, the impact that their work has on the business, on their families, and on the different stakeholders that are part of the Caravela community. We understand that what makes us different is not only the quality of our coffee and our processes, but also the caliber of our people. Over 200 team members make it possible for our motto to become a reality: Together, we’re making coffee better.

 Our desire for excellence and constant improvement is a huge part of what drives us, and one of the main reasons why we love belonging to the B-Corp community. The B Impact Assessment that we complete each year has revealed areas for improvement in terms of the effect we have on our suppliers, employees, the communities we have daily interactions with, as well as our clients and shareholders. In our 2019 Impact Assessment, which was a new and improved version, our score was almost 30 points lower than the previous year, due to several areas for improvement that were identified. Being the first time that our score had dropped by more than 10% since we joined the B-Corp movement, in 2020 we set the goal of reducing the gap in almost all the areas of improvement highlighted, focusing a large part of our efforts on advancing the quality of life of our co-workers, our people.

 The biggest opportunity revealed by the assessment concerned salaries paid to our co-workers. Although as an organization we complied with local laws by paying the legal minimum wage in each country, this was not enough. We needed to ensure that all our co-workers received at least a living wage, a truly decent wage in accordance with the living conditions of each country, thereby improving their quality of life along with that of their families.

 Unlike the legal minimum wage, which is a wage imposed by the government according to past inflation, a living wage is calculated by considering all the factors that allow a family in a country or region to have a decent life. To arrive at the living wage in each country, we used the platform created by the Global Living Wage Coalition (GLWC), an alliance of organizations such as Fairtrade International and the Rainforest Alliance, with the collaboration of ISEAL and international experts in living wage. The GLWC commissions studies with local experts to calculate the living wage in several countries around the world; these studies then enable companies such as Caravela to move towards paying this amount to their employees.

 But just as we were beginning the analysis, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, perhaps one of the greatest challenges for humanity in recent times. The resulting restrictions and uncertainty that the virus generated for people and organizations caused a substantial decrease in sales between March and May 2020, disrupting our plans to implement the living wage as the minimum wage paid from 2020 to our team members.

 Facing the stark prospect of being forced to reduce salaries or lay off personnel, we decided the most important thing was to take care of our people. We scoured our operations for savings and untapped efficiencies in other, less critical areas. With the help of all our co-workers across our warehouses and offices, we were able to achieve over 1 million dollars in savings compared to our initial budget, all without affecting any of our co-workers.

 As the crisis progressed, however, we continued to analyze the wage issue. Using the studies that have been published by the GLWC with information from the seven Latin American countries where we operate, we found that in four origins (Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia and Ecuador) we were not ensuring a living wage to 55 of our co-workers. Not surprisingly, most of the team members needing a wage increase were precisely the people who, due to the nature of their role, could not work from home, and indeed faced the greatest health risks. This confirmed to us that it was an effort we had to make as an organization, regardless of the difficulties we were facing. Before the profitability of the company lay the obligation and commitment to these 55 team members who had to leave their homes to go to work, risking their lives and those of their families. For that reason, and despite the continued uncertainty, in mid-2020 we made the decision to increase the salary of all these collaborators by 10% starting in July.

 Having endured the worst of the storm, and fortunately rallied to a strong finish to the year, in December we decided that as of January 1, 2021 we would increase the salary of all these team members to the living wage of their country. Today, I can say with pride that all our team members receive a decent salary that will allow them and their families to continue progressing. One month into this achievement, I can see the happiness and commitment of our employees. They know that Caravela is an organization that supports them in difficult times, and that we as a company will always believe that our greatest resource is not our coffee: it’s our people.

Si hay algo de lo que somos conscientes en Caravela es que hemos llegado a donde estamos gracias al trabajo y esfuerzo de cada uno de nuestros colaboradores, al impacto que tiene su labor en el negocio, en sus propias familias y en los diferentes interesados que hacen parte de la comunidad Caravela. Entendemos que lo que nos hace diferente no es solo la calidad de nuestro café y de nuestros procesos, sino también la calidad de nuestra gente. Esos más de 200 colaboradores hacen posible que nuestro lema sea una realidad: Juntos hacemos mejor el café.

 La búsqueda de la excelencia y el mejoramiento continuo es parte de nuestro norte. Por eso nos encanta pertenecer a la comunidad de Empresas B. La Evaluación de Impacto B que completamos cada año nos ha ayudado a ver los aspectos por mejorar en términos del impacto que tenemos sobre nuestros proveedores, empleados, las comunidades con las que interactuamos en el día a día, y nuestros clientes y accionistas. En nuestra Evaluación de Impacto B del 2019, que era una nueva y mejorada versión, por primera vez bajamos nuestro puntaje en casi 30 puntos con respecto al año anterior debido a varias oportunidades de mejora que surgieron. Siendo la primera vez que nuestro puntaje bajaba mas del 10% desde que pertenecemos a las Empresas B, para el 2020 nos pusimos la meta de mejorar en casi todas las áreas de mejora identificadas, y en particular en enfocar gran parte de nuestros esfuerzos en mejorarle la calidad de vida a nuestros colaboradores, a nuestra gente.

 La oportunidad principal identificada era el salario pagado a nuestros colaboradores. Si bien como organización cumplíamos con las leyes locales pagando el salario mínimo legal de cada país, esto no era suficiente. Necesitábamos tomar acciones que nos permitieran asegurar que todos nuestros colaboradores percibieran como mínimo un salario mínimo vital (living wage): un salario realmente digno de acuerdo con las condiciones de cada país y de esta manera mejorar la calidad de vida de ellos y de sus familias.

 A diferencia del salario mínimo legal, que es un salario impuesto por el estado teniendo en cuenta la inflación pasada, el salario mínimo vital es calculado teniendo en cuenta todos los factores que permitan que una familia en un país o región pueda contar con una vida digna. Para calcular el salario mínimo vital hicimos uso de la plataforma creada por la Global Living Wage Coallition (GLWC), una alianza entre diferentes actores tales como Fairtrade International y Rainforest Alliance, con la colaboración de ISEAL y de expertos internacionales en Living Wage. La GLWC comisiona con expertos locales estudios de salario mínimo vital en varios países del mundo que pueden ser consultados por compañías como Caravela para facilitar moverse hacia pagar un salario digno a todos sus colaboradores.

 Pero justo en el momento que estábamos comenzando el análisis, al mundo llegó esta pandemia del COVID-19, quizás uno de los más grandes desafíos para la humanidad en los últimos tiempos.  Los confinamientos y la incertidumbre que genero este horrible virus en las personas y organizaciones causo una gran caída en nuestras ventas entre marzo y mayo del 2020, lo que hizo trastocar nuestros planes de implementar a partir del 2020 el salario mínimo vital como el salario mínimo pagado a nuestros colaboradores.

 A pesar de que lo más fácil hubiera sido reducir salarios o despedir personal, en dicho momento tomamos la decisión que lo más importante era velar por nuestra gente, por lo cual descartamos de plano acudir a esta vía para sortear la tormenta. Mas bien buscamos ahorros y maximización de recursos en otras áreas menos críticas, y con la ayuda de todos nuestros colaboradores entre todas nuestras operaciones logramos ahorros de más de 1 millón de dólares frente a nuestro presupuesto inicial, sin afectar a ninguno de nuestros colaboradores.

 En la mitad de la pandemia continuamos analizando el tema. Usando los estudios que han sido publicados por la GLWC con información de los 7 países de Latinoamérica en los cuales operamos, encontramos que en cuatro orígenes (México, Nicaragua, Colombia y Ecuador) no estábamos asegurando este ingreso mensual a 55 de nuestros colaboradores. Y tampoco fue sorpresa encontrar que la mayoría de los roles a los cuales debíamos ajustar sus ingresos eran precisamente las personas que por la naturaleza de su rol no podían trabajar desde sus casas – como muchos en el mundo si pudimos – sino en sus puestos de trabajo, con los mayores riesgos de contagiarse con el virus.  Esto nos confirmó que, si bien era un esfuerzo que teníamos que hacer como organización en momentos complejos. Por encima de la rentabilidad de la empresa debía primar la obligación y el compromiso con estos 55 colaboradores que a diario salían de sus casas a su lugar de trabajo sin importar tener de por medio una situación tan difícil como el COVID 19. Por eso, y a pesar de la incertidumbre que aun reinaba, a mediados del 2020 tomamos la decisión de incrementarles el salario de todos esos colaboradores un en 10% a partir de julio.

 Habiendo pasado lo peor de la tormenta, y por fortuna habiendo podido tener unos resultados aceptables gracias a la recuperación observada en los últimos meses del año, a finales del 2020 tomamos la decisión que a partir del primero de enero de 2021 íbamos a incrementar el salario a todos estos colaboradores al salario mínimo vital de cada país. Con orgullo hoy podemos decir que todos nuestros empleados reciben un salario digno que les permitirá a ellos y sus familias seguir progresando. Un mes después de este hito, puedo ver como nuestros colaboradores trabajan más felices y comprometidos porque saben que Caravela es una organización que los respalda en tiempos difíciles y nosotros como compañía seguiremos creyendo que nuestro principal recurso no es el café; es nuestra gente.

1 Comment
  1. Luis Baron

    Amazing! Very inspiring

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Was this interesting? Grab a coffee and pick another from the articles below

Recognizing Producers’ Commitment to Excellence in El Salvador

Recognizing Producers’ Commitment to Excellence in El Salvador

The Sum of Small Actions: PECA contributes to the reduction of GHG’s

The Sum of Small Actions: PECA contributes to the reduction of GHG’s

A Pivotal Moment for Specialty Coffee

A Pivotal Moment for Specialty Coffee

Long Distances, Long Histories: Getting Close to Coffee in Oaxaca

Long Distances, Long Histories: Getting Close to Coffee in Oaxaca

We are Best for the World 2021!

We are Best for the World 2021!

Transparent Teamwork with Local Cooperatives

Transparent Teamwork with Local Cooperatives

Planning Ahead: As bad as it sounds?

Planning Ahead: As bad as it sounds?

Growing and Thriving with Guatemalan Farmers

Growing and Thriving with Guatemalan Farmers

An Update on Colombia’s Ongoing Crisis

An Update on Colombia’s Ongoing Crisis

Mastering the Learning Loop in Peru

Mastering the Learning Loop in Peru

Supply Chain Hurricane: Weathering a perfect logistical storm in 2021

Supply Chain Hurricane: Weathering a perfect logistical storm in 2021

Making the Coffee World More Sustainable

Making the Coffee World More Sustainable

A Familiar Face Returns: William Ortiz at the helm of Colombia/Ecuador

A Familiar Face Returns: William Ortiz at the helm of Colombia/Ecuador

Cause and Effectiveness: Increasing Impact with the Sustainable Development Initiative

Cause and Effectiveness: Increasing Impact with the Sustainable Development Initiative

Shifting Calendars, Shifting Harvests

Shifting Calendars, Shifting Harvests

Third-Party Verification that Leads to Action

Third-Party Verification that Leads to Action

‘Milds’ Intrigue: The Price Quandry Facing Farmers

‘Milds’ Intrigue: The Price Quandry Facing Farmers

Guiding Farms in the Right Direction

Guiding Farms in the Right Direction

Our Best Coffee is Our People

Our Best Coffee is Our People

What’s Brewing in the Coffee Industry: Lessons Learned and What to Look Forward in 2021

What’s Brewing in the Coffee Industry: Lessons Learned and What to Look Forward in 2021

Why Add Yeast ?

Why Add Yeast ?

Polar Promise in Las Palmas: A Case Study of North Star’s El Salvador Origin Project

Polar Promise in Las Palmas: A Case Study of North Star’s El Salvador Origin Project

Peru 2020: Rising Up From Lockdown

Peru 2020: Rising Up From Lockdown

Traditional Varieties in Latin America

Traditional Varieties in Latin America

Ecuador 2020: Making Our Way in the Middle

Ecuador 2020: Making Our Way in the Middle

Climate Neutral Caravela 2025: Steady Steps Towards a More Sustainable Future

Climate Neutral Caravela 2025: Steady Steps Towards a More Sustainable Future

A Primer on Transparency + Traceability Part II

A Primer on Transparency + Traceability Part II

A Primer on Transparency + Traceability Part I

A Primer on Transparency + Traceability Part I

How to Create a Specialty Coffee Line to Attract Commercial Coffee Drinkers Into The Specialty Coffee World? Part II

How to Create a Specialty Coffee Line to Attract Commercial Coffee Drinkers Into The Specialty Coffee World? Part II

How to Create a Specialty Coffee Line to Attract Commercial Coffee Drinkers Into The Specialty Coffee World?

How to Create a Specialty Coffee Line to Attract Commercial Coffee Drinkers Into The Specialty Coffee World?

A Take on Long-standing Relationships: Hasbean and Pedro Claros

A Take on Long-standing Relationships: Hasbean and Pedro Claros

Futures Contracts: What, Why, How  Part Three: Futures 103 How Hedging Works

Futures Contracts: What, Why, How Part Three: Futures 103 How Hedging Works

Futures Contracts: What, Why, How Part Two: Futures 102

Futures Contracts: What, Why, How Part Two: Futures 102

Futures Contracts: What, Why, How Part One: Futures 101

Futures Contracts: What, Why, How Part One: Futures 101

Grade Expectations: Finding Versatility and Value in A and AA Coffees

Grade Expectations: Finding Versatility and Value in A and AA Coffees

A Presentation on Cost of Production In Latin America

A Presentation on Cost of Production In Latin America

Meso-American Producer Survey: The Pandemic Will Leave Long-Lasting Scars

Meso-American Producer Survey: The Pandemic Will Leave Long-Lasting Scars

Invisible Barriers for Moving Coffee

Invisible Barriers for Moving Coffee

Caravela at 20: The Journey is Only Getting Started

Caravela at 20: The Journey is Only Getting Started

Certifiably Awesome: Passion and Persistence Turn Promise into Parchment in Mexico

Certifiably Awesome: Passion and Persistence Turn Promise into Parchment in Mexico

Harvest Arrives, Along with a Pandemic

Harvest Arrives, Along with a Pandemic

Minga From Field To Filter: Coffee Reacts and Adapts to the Covid Era

Minga From Field To Filter: Coffee Reacts and Adapts to the Covid Era

Mother Nature Turns The Volume Down in Nicaragua

Mother Nature Turns The Volume Down in Nicaragua

LOTSA Potential: The Long-Term Supply Agreement as a Tool for Financial Stability and Building Relationships

LOTSA Potential: The Long-Term Supply Agreement as a Tool for Financial Stability and Building Relationships

Progress in a Picture-Perfect Coffee Setting

Progress in a Picture-Perfect Coffee Setting

The Price and Value of Consistency

The Price and Value of Consistency

Looking Back and Leaping Forward

Looking Back and Leaping Forward

Womxn-Powered Coffee: Why It Matters

Womxn-Powered Coffee: Why It Matters

Behind the Scenes in Peruvian Coffee

Behind the Scenes in Peruvian Coffee

Unpoppable Opportunities for the Future

Unpoppable Opportunities for the Future

Equipping the Equipo: Playing to win in Guatemala and El Salvador

Equipping the Equipo: Playing to win in Guatemala and El Salvador

Agronomy to Keep the Microlots Coming

Agronomy to Keep the Microlots Coming

Evolution in a Land of Revolution

Evolution in a Land of Revolution

Cupping as Meditation

Cupping as Meditation

Origin Revelations

Origin Revelations

Avoiding the Poverty Trap: Choosing Stories Instead of Emotional Marketing

Avoiding the Poverty Trap: Choosing Stories Instead of Emotional Marketing

I’ve Bean Everywhere, Man

I’ve Bean Everywhere, Man

Have Yourself a Mara Little Christmas

Have Yourself a Mara Little Christmas

All Roads Lead to Coffee

All Roads Lead to Coffee

How Coffee can Complement Food

How Coffee can Complement Food

Building Projects at Origin

Building Projects at Origin

Shining a Light on Defect Detection: How a $9 UV torch could be one of the best investments for the coffee value chain

Shining a Light on Defect Detection: How a $9 UV torch could be one of the best investments for the coffee value chain

Coffee: Culture or Business?

Coffee: Culture or Business?

Café: ¿Cultura o Negocio?

Café: ¿Cultura o Negocio?

A Study on Costs of Production in Latin America

A Study on Costs of Production in Latin America

Fermentation Experiments in Nicaragua – How We Managed to Go from RTB to AAA

Fermentation Experiments in Nicaragua – How We Managed to Go from RTB to AAA

Constantly Adapting to Change

Constantly Adapting to Change

Mind the Gap: A Growing Gray Area Between Market and Production

Mind the Gap: A Growing Gray Area Between Market and Production

Embracing Technology to Create New Pathways in Coffee

Embracing Technology to Create New Pathways in Coffee

Forward Contracting to Secure Quality, Quantity and Relationships

Forward Contracting to Secure Quality, Quantity and Relationships

Caravela Sponsors Seven Small-holder Coffee Producers to attend the Producer and Roaster Forum in Guatemala

Caravela Sponsors Seven Small-holder Coffee Producers to attend the Producer and Roaster Forum in Guatemala

Colombian Specialty Coffee Scene. A Perspective from Café Quindío

Colombian Specialty Coffee Scene. A Perspective from Café Quindío

Coffee Sampling  Increases Farmers Profitability Opportunities

Coffee Sampling Increases Farmers Profitability Opportunities

Caravela From a Newcomer’s View

Caravela From a Newcomer’s View

Water Activity: Predictive insights Changing Processes and Profits

Water Activity: Predictive insights Changing Processes and Profits

Blending Experience with Passion in Mesoamerica

Blending Experience with Passion in Mesoamerica

Coffee in Galapagos: Evolving To Thrive

Coffee in Galapagos: Evolving To Thrive

What Traceability Offers Farmers

What Traceability Offers Farmers

The Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide – Setting the Bar on Prices

The Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide – Setting the Bar on Prices

A Tale of Two Customers: Caravela Coffee and the Rethinking of the Coffee Import Model

A Tale of Two Customers: Caravela Coffee and the Rethinking of the Coffee Import Model

Arriving at a price

Arriving at a price

Rich Farmer, Poor Farmer

Rich Farmer, Poor Farmer

Low Prices, Risky Times

Low Prices, Risky Times

Making it Work as Well as it Can

Making it Work as Well as it Can

Discovering the Source

Discovering the Source

A Mutual Evolution: Caravela Nicaragua’s William Ortiz, on helping people grow coffee, and how coffee helps people grow

A Mutual Evolution: Caravela Nicaragua’s William Ortiz, on helping people grow coffee, and how coffee helps people grow

The High Price of Getting the Best from Ecuador

The High Price of Getting the Best from Ecuador

Victims of Exchanging Currencies – Who Should Take on this Risk?

Victims of Exchanging Currencies – Who Should Take on this Risk?

A Pilgrimage to the Future

A Pilgrimage to the Future

Why We’re Investing in World Coffee Research?

Why We’re Investing in World Coffee Research?

The Making of a Champion

The Making of a Champion

Peru, an Unpolished Diamond in Coffee Production

Peru, an Unpolished Diamond in Coffee Production

Investing in Education: Investing in People

Investing in Education: Investing in People

How Roasters Can Influence the Supply Chain

How Roasters Can Influence the Supply Chain

Aromas: More than Just a Coffee Competition

Aromas: More than Just a Coffee Competition

FOB vs. EXW – Two Buying/Shipping Methods for Your Green Coffee

FOB vs. EXW – Two Buying/Shipping Methods for Your Green Coffee

Sample Roasting vs. Profile Roasting

Sample Roasting vs. Profile Roasting

How to Keep Records of your Costs of Production?

How to Keep Records of your Costs of Production?

Why and How to Estimate Costs of Production in a Coffee Farm?

Why and How to Estimate Costs of Production in a Coffee Farm?

Supply Chain Logistics – The Clockwork of Coffee

Supply Chain Logistics – The Clockwork of Coffee

Forecasting Green Coffee Purchasing

Forecasting Green Coffee Purchasing

What is specialty Coffee

What is specialty Coffee

Drying in Peru: the Final Step in Quality Improvement

Drying in Peru: the Final Step in Quality Improvement

FOB vs: EXW – Two Buying/Shipping Methods for Your Green Coffee

FOB vs: EXW – Two Buying/Shipping Methods for Your Green Coffee

When is it time to harvest?

When is it time to harvest?

Just In Time Inventory

Just In Time Inventory

Spectrum Purchasing and How it Impacts Sustainability

Spectrum Purchasing and How it Impacts Sustainability

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Translate »

Pin It on Pinterest

Share

Share this content with your coffee community!