The Greater Houston Coffee Association hosted its annual luncheon on October 15, 2019, and featured guest speaker Aldo Annese, Director I&D of Aurora Studio Project. Annese flew in from Guatemala City, Guatemala for the event. Aurora Studio Project, part of Cepaglobal, is a best practice authentication program for business processes in Guatemala with a commitment to “do good”.
Aurora Studio Project’s goal is to “achieve profitability, excellence, economic and social growth, by maintaining a long term, friendly and equitable relationship with people, the community and the environment.” Annese discussed one of the Aurora’s success stories: improving lives and the regional economy in Verapaz, Guatemala, through the coffee industry. Verapaz is home to 529,000 individuals without basic literacy, which limits their ability to pursue education. The region is impoverished with high rates of poverty, leading to high migration from the farms into the marginal urban areas.
Annese and Aurora have worked with the local farmers to “create a sustainable system, with education for all, that is committed to bringing support to the associate’s family.” Aurora helps coffee producers reach their target markets directly, which dramatically increases the income that the coffee producers receive for their crops. Then, by educating the coffee producers and their communities on how to better spend and invest their earnings, the entire community can improve their standard of living. So far, farmers have sold 288,000 pounds of coffee using this system.
Annese closed the presentation with a challenge to the audience to “be a coffee seed in the hearts of the farmer and his community, being a part of their well-being and growth, committed for the good.”