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EXPO Panel: Strengthening the links of the coffee value chain by integrating gender equity

In Salon Tahoma at the Seattle Convention Center

The coffee industry has demonstrated a noteworthy drive toward collaborative engagement in sustainability over the past several years, but there has been a lack of investment in gender equity throughout the value chain. As part of a multi-staged process to engagement across the supply chain to increase gender equity, the CQI Partnership for Gender Equity (PGE) developed and piloted a field-level project in Nicaragua in 2017 with funding from UTZ and in partnership with two producer cooperatives, SOPPEXCCA and PRODECOOP. This panel will highlight how bringing together actors along the supply chain; households, producer organizations, and the end market, helps to create a catalytic effect toward better outcomes for coffee farming families, their communities and the supply chain as a whole. Panelists representing the different levels of the supply chain will speak to their unique role in the process and how participating in the project has begun to shift gender imbalances in their ways of working.

Learning Objectives:

·       Gain insight into how gender equity programs that link the various supply chain levels can catalyze greater momentum to address the issue

·       Understand how gender equity can positively impact business and supply chain projects

·       Identify key concerns and opportunities to address them

·       Learn how to get involved 


·       Moderator, Kimberly Easson, Strategic Director, The CQI Partnership for Gender Equity: For more than twenty years, Kimberly Easson has dedicated herself to improving the lives of small-scale farmers, particularly in coffee and for women. She is the founder and Strategic Director of the Partnership for Gender Equity, a collaborative research and development initiative of the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) to improve coffee quality, and supply chain resilience with a focus on gender equity at origin. She served four years as member of the Board of Directors of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), co-founded the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) and the JavaJog for a Cause, which has raised nearly $100,000 for women in coffee producing communities.

·       Nora Burkey, Projects and Program Advisor, The CQI Partnership for Gender Equity. Nora is based in Nicaragua and oversees the implementation of PGE’s work there, and supports the development of PGE’s programs, tools and strategy to ensure that PGE can inspire and engage industry members to take action on gender equity. Nora holds a degree in Sustainable Development from SIT Graduate Institute, where she focused on gender and food systems and conducted research on women’s lending groups in coffee cooperatives and has been active in the coffee sector since 2012.

·       Beth Ann Caspersen, Equal Exchange, As the Coffee Quality Control Manager the Equal Exchange Cooperative in West Bridgewater, MA, Beth Ann manages imported and roasted coffee quality from the point of origin through to the finished product. She is a trainer, a Q Instructor, an Authorized SCA Trainer and a graduate of the Sensory Science and Consumer Testing certificate program at UC Davis. Beth Ann is an advocate for women’s rights; she founded the Congo Coffee Project for Equal Exchange which supports survivors of sexual violence in the D.R. Congo and also helped to found Java Jog for a Cause.

- Olga Cuellar, Sustainability Manager, S&D Coffee & Tea

- Fatima Ismael Espinoza, General Manager, SOPPEXCCA

- Alexa Marin, Gender Coordinator, PRODECOOP