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Westrock Coffee details sustainable sourcing progress in annual report

The Arkansas-based coffee and tea processor has detailed its transparency and traceability progresss from across 35 coffee and tea producing countries

Westrock Coffee sourced more than 90,000 tonnes of coffee and tea in 2022, 69% of which it says was certified, verified or digitally traceable to the farmer – a 9% increase on 2021 | Photo credit: Westrock Coffee 

In a year when Westrock Coffee went public in a $1.1bn valuation, acquired Kohana Coffee and Bixby Coffee and opened new facilities in the US and Malaysia, Westrock Coffee has detailed its work to promote sustainable coffee and tea production during 2022.
According to its 2022 Sustainability Progress Report, Westrock Coffee sourced 200 million lbs (90,718 tonnes) of green coffee and tea from 1.5 million farmer partners across 35 sourcing countries in 2022.
Sixty-nine percent of that volume was ‘responsibly sourced’, which Westrock defines as certified verified, or digitally traceable to the farmer – a 9% increase on 2021.
Westrock sourced 35 million lbs (15,875 tonnes) of coffee in digitally traceable supply chains from seven countries, the report details.
Westrock Coffee has been working in supply chain development in coffee growing communities since 2009. In 2022 the company reports it operated 17 location-based projects and three scalable programmes – The Agribusiness Training Program (ATP), Farmer Direct Verified, and Raíz Sustainability in 13 countries.
In total, more than 26,000 farmers and farm workers received training through Raíz Sustainability and the ATP in 2022, Westrock said.
In Rwanda’s Eastern Province, Westrock said the Rwanda Trading Company (RTC) had launched an ATP in 2013 to educate and collaborate with 2,000 coffee farmers.
Since then, ATP has engaged over 52,000 farmers in agribusiness training. In 2022, 2,312 farmers received $508,410 through a loan program RTC offers in partnership with Urwego Opportunity Bank.
Moreover, the project distributed nearly 1.3 million coffee seedlings, 6% above its 2022 targets, 39% more farmer loans distributed after a 99% repayment rate on the previous cycle and spent 4,524 hours on farmer training in 2022.
In the report, Westrock also detailed the extent of its global operations. In 2022, the Arkansas-based coffee and tea processor sourced 941 coffee, tea and extract products in 43 packaging types.

In 2022, Westrock's Arkansas facilities diverted 57% of manufacturing waste streams from landfills and are aiming for 70% of waste streams in 2023. On coffee farms in a Westrock Coffee dedicated supply chain, farmers are employing, on average, seven water, soil, and forest conservation practices.

The company currently employs more than 1,250 staff in ten countries and operates nine production and packaging facilities around the world.
“During the last twelve months, we have transitioned to a public company, expanded our capabilities in the Ready-to-Drink coffee and tea space, opened a new manufacturing plant in Malaysia, and acquired two specialty manufacturing businesses in Kohana Coffee and Bixby Coffee,” wrote Matt Smith, Executive Vice President, Supply Chain & Sustainability, Westrock Coffee.
“We also remain focused on growing supply chain Transparency through long term relationships built on repeat business and data sharing that drives an equitable, sustainable partnership. Both sourcing goals require a level of Traceability that ensures we know exactly who we are doing business with directly and indirectly, in every step of the supply chain,” Smith added.
Westrock Coffee achieved net sales growth of 24% in the 12 months ended 31 December 2022 to reach $868m alongside 27% growth in adjusted EBITDA to $60m.
In February 2023 Westrock Coffee acquired California-based coffee roaster Bixby Roasting Co. to enhance its omni-channel marketing and tap into the under-30s market for specialty coffee. 
Westrock has also increased its focus on RTD coffee as it seeks to track ‘shifting consumer trends’. 
In November 2022 the company began upgrading its new roasting to RTD facility in Conway, Arkansas.

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