What is Virtuous Exchange?
VE is a business model that facilitates businesses in:
• Directly connecting producers and consumers.
• Providing access to active investment and significant benefit sharing to the producers, consumers, and other stakeholders involved in every transaction.
• Developing engagement, production, transaction, and marketing processes that are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.
• Adding value to the lives of others, while building community.
How is Virtuous Exchange different from Fair Trade?
While Virtuous Exchange embraces Fair Trade’s principles of helping producers in developing countries obtain fair prices, be treated ethically, and implement environmentally sustainable practices, VE goes beyond Fair Trade to:
• Provide producers with significantly higher benefit—sharing up to 50% of profits.
• Offer producers attainable investment opportunity—making possible an ownership stake in the business.
• Recognize and appreciate the human element inherent in trade. Producers become more than commodities. Their cultural and social traditions are honored and shared in every transaction.
• Set a higher bar for socially conscious businesses. Rather than simply meeting a set of standards, VE asks businesses to be in real relationship with producers and consumers and uniquely connect them in ways that have the best interests of both, and our world, at heart.
How is Blessed Coffee implementing the Virtuous Exchange model?
• Blessed Coffee connects consumers and coffee growers by purchasing coffee directly from the Oromia Coffee Farmers Union which represents more than 240,000 small coffee growers.
• Ultimately, Blessed Coffee will offer farmers a 50% investment opportunity in Blessed Coffee and provide 50% equal benefit sharing of the profit from the wholesale revenue stream. Blessed Coffee will also offer 50% of the profit from the retail business (Blessed Coffee Café) to local nonprofits that provide vital public good. Lastly, Blessed Coffee offers community investment opportunity to small investors from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.
• Blessed Coffee will pay employees a living wage. Additionally, Blessed Coffee will continue to use community organizations and networks for marketing and as sales agents, forgoing expensive advertising campaigns and instead leveraging community support to raise visibility.
• Blessed Coffee will create a social and cultural hub, the Blessed Coffee Café, for communities to forge relationships and exchange cultural and artistic reflections.