Ecom Agroindustrial Corp. Ltd (ECOM) is a global commodity trading and processing company specializing in coffee, cotton, cocoa, and sugar in major producing and consuming countries, with ancillary agricultural operations in oilseeds. ECOM is one of the world’s top three merchants in coffee, one of the largest coffee millers in the world, and among the top five merchants in both cotton and cocoa.
The company is an integrated commodity originator, processor, and merchandiser, and it sells its products to branded product manufacturers, including household names such as Nestlé Group, Starbucks, Hershey, Mars, Sara Lee, Kraft, and Folgers. Now incorporated and headquartered in Switzerland, ECOM and its subsidiaries operate in 30 countries. The company employs approximately 6,000 people worldwide and had 2011 sales of $5.1 billion.
ECOM’s coffee business is global, with more than 20 offices on five continents. In recent years, as much as 20% of ECOM’s total coffee trade was in certified varieties and the company’s long-term vision is to increase this percentage significantly.
ECOM's Inclusive Business Model
ECOM engages with coffee growers to support farm productivity and promote certification. The model includes technical assistance to increase yields, improve quality, and become certified under he various labels ECOM markets (among others Rainforest Alliance, Starbucks, 4C, Utz, or Nespresso AAA), and in some cases, seasonal and selective medium term financing to farmers for inputs and capital improvements.
On the technical assistance side, ECOM employs qualified agronomists who work with local and international NGOs to train farmers on sustainability and productivity. Under a partnership with IFC, ECOM aims to improve farmer productivity, sustainability, and eligibility for certification.
On the financing side, ECOM provides seasonal credits to its suppliers in a number of countries, such as in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica in Central America. These advances against later deliveries of coffee finance the farmer throughout the production cycle, supporting the purchase of inputs like fertilizer, the maintenance of the coffee plants, and harvesting.
The business and development results of ECOM’s inclusive business model are intimately linked.
Increased productivity for farmers reached, in some programs by more than 40%
81,817 metric tons of certified coffee purchased, representing $14.7 million in additional income for coffee farmers (2007-2012)
Increased farmer loyalty to ECOM and more stable supply chain
Increased trade volumes of certified coffee