The Frank roadmap
We do a lot of things well, but we’re not (yet) 100% sustai
When we tell people we give 2% of our revenues back to the farmers they ask: why only 2%?? Let me break it down for you.
Impact is part of our core business. This means, the tea we buy IS the vehicle for change, not the 2%. Because we only source high quality orthodox tea that is priced at a premium. Therefore the price we pay to our Sri Lanka partner includes a living wage for the farmers, renewable tea production, tree planting, and schoolprograms for the farmers children. However, we are a small company and cannot get ALL of our sourcing right yet from all our ingredients, which is why we want to give back after the purchase from the beginning. So the 2% is on top of the tea price.
Usually, if at all, companies give 1% of their profits away. However, profits can be easily manipulated, and in our case we haven’t even made any profit yet! This would mean our farmers get nothing. If you give part of your revenues away as a company, farmers always get something from the start!
Let me take you back to Kenya now.
Nairobi, 16th of November 2020. I feel a hint of guilt for flying here during an pandemic. A white warrior, handing out bags with cash, clearing the conscience of our colonial past. I can’t say the thought didn’t cross my mind…
Quickly though, the guilt is replaced with a sense of purpose; this is my work, this is what I set out to do. I am here in Kenya to select the winners of our business plan competition and provide them with business funding; funding derived from our 2% revenue commitment.
I make my way to Kerugoya district in my rented SUV, navigating the potholes and left-side driving. I am greeted with uber-strong black tea at the tea factory and handed over the farmer’s business plans to review. Boy, am I impressed! From running a large scale tree nursery, to beekeeping and goat rearing enterprises, I quickly realize that here, business sense equals environmental and humanitarian sense, which I can’t say applies to most business models in the West. It takes me the whole morning to go through the plans, and look at them like any other business plan. Return on investment? Skin in the game?
It’s time to visit the 6 farming communities I selected to deliver the news of the grant. 4000 EUR, impacting the lives of at least 113 families.
Looking back, my heart feels so full, my connection to humanity as strong as ever, dancing and singing along with the farmers. It was a day of celebrations, celebrations of their hard work and life long pursuit of providing enough for their families. Being able to support their dreams with a fraction from our tea sales that THEY helped to make, didn’t feel like charity at all! It felt like entrepreneurs supporting entrepreneurs and it was beautiful. 💛