We spoke to Roxanne Joyal, Founder and CEO of &BACK about the idea behind &BACK coffee, its initiatives, commitments, and how this socially conscious venture is reshaping the coffee industry one cup at a time.

What inspired you to establish &BACK coffee and how did the idea of combining premium Fairtrade coffee with a mission for positive social impact come about?

Establishing &BACK was a natural step for me after years of working on socially conscious endeavours. Having spent over 25 years collaborating with like-minded partners to create products and experiences that positively impact people and communities globally, I've witnessed firsthand the transformative power of responsible commerce. Throughout my career, a central theme has been the empowerment of women—a cause that resonates deeply with me and is woven into every aspect of &BACK.

It's widely acknowledged in the development sphere that for every dollar a woman earns, 90 cents goes directly towards benefiting her children, household, and wider community. Combining my dedication to women's empowerment with my love for delicious, ethically sourced coffee, &BACK coffee was born. Our mission is simple yet profound: to offer premium Fairtrade coffee that not only delights the tastebuds but also makes a tangible difference in the lives of women and their communities. It is our hope that guests of Red Carnation Hotels will have a moment to enjoy their in-room coffee amenity. I know a cup of coffee always brings a smile to my face!

Can you elaborate on the specific initiatives and commitments that &BACK coffee has undertaken to support women farmers and ensure ethical sourcing of 100% Arabica beans from selected co-ops?

At &BACK, we are deeply committed to empowering women farmers and upholding ethical sourcing practices across our supply chain. Our efforts are centred around providing support and resources to women in coffee-growing communities, fostering their economic independence and social inclusion.

We are proud to source our beans from carefully selected Fairtrade cooperatives in East Africa and Latin America that prioritise the social and economic inclusion of women. By partnering with these cooperatives, we ensure that our sourcing practices align with our values of fairness and equality. Furthermore, we are committed to providing comprehensive support and resources to farmers in coffee growing communities. This includes working with partners on the ground to support financial literacy and agricultural training programs for women coffee farmers in Kenya and Ecuador.

Recognising the pivotal role of women in driving positive change within their families and communities, we invest in programs that equip women coffee farmers in Kenya and Ecuador with the skills and knowledge they need to manage their finances and farms independently. Through workshops and training sessions, we aim to empower women to make informed decisions, invest wisely, farm smartly, and build resilient businesses that contribute to their socio-economic empowerment. Overall, our initiatives reflect our dedication to creating positive social impact and fostering a sustainable and growing coffee industry. Through collaboration and investment in the empowerment of women and young farmers, we aim to build brighter and more inclusive and prosperous futures for coffee-growing communities worldwide.

Introducing &BACK Coffee

Learn more about &BACK, a Fairtrade and ethically sourced coffee supplier that supports and empowers women coffee farmers.

In the era of increasing digitalisation, how does &BACK leverage technology to enhance the partnership experience with Red Carnation Hotels?

At &BACK, we recognise the importance of leveraging technology to enrich the partnership experience with Red Carnation Hotels and their guests. One way we achieve this is through our unique Impact QR code, a digital tool embedded in our coffee packaging and present wherever &BACK coffee is served. This innovative feature allows consumers to scan the code with their smartphones, instantly accessing a wealth of information about the coffee they're enjoying. From learning about the journey of the beans from farm to cup to discovering the inspiring stories of the women coffee farmers behind the brew, the QR code provides a window into what their coffee is all about.

Guests and employees of Red Carnation Hotels can stay connected with the diverse voices of the people they are empowering with each cup of &BACK coffee by following us on Instagram at @andbackco, on LinkedIn, or by visiting our website and signing up for our quarterly newsletter. Finally, we are proud to provide an in-room video to guests of Red Carnation Hotels, telling them more about the coffee they’re drinking and how to brew a delicious cup in their room. Finally, Red Carnation Hotels is amplifying our message and collective impact around International Women’s Day, Earth Month and Fairtrade Month.

&BACK plays a crucial role in certifying and implementing commitments to ethical sourcing, environmental stewardship, carbon offsetting, and grassroots project delivery. How do these partnerships enhance the overall impact and effectiveness of &BACK coffee's mission?

At &BACK, our impact-led coffee solution is backed by a suite of certifications, including Fairtrade, B Corp Pending, 1% for the Planet, and Climate Neutral. These certifications not only demonstrate our commitment to ethical sourcing and environmental stewardship, but also support and verify our goal of driving socio-economic growth in diverse communities. Through our partnership with 1% for the Planet, we dedicate 1% of our revenue to environmental projects, supporting conservation and reforestation programs in coffee-growing countries and communities. This investment aims to secure viable and prosperous futures for coffee farmers and their communities.

Additionally, &BACK coffee is Climate Neutral Certified by the Change Climate Project. We actively measure and offset our carbon footprint, supporting independently reviewed and monitored carbon offset projects along the coffee belt. Our efforts also include tree conservation and reforestation programs in Peru and Kenya, respectively. As a proud women-owned business, &BACK is dedicated to empowering women and promoting gender equality in the coffee industry. We work closely with Fairtrade representatives in coffee-growing countries to source from cooperatives that provide support and opportunities for women coffee farmers.

Finally, all of our initiatives are framed by our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), with a particular focus on ending poverty, promoting gender equality, and encouraging responsible consumption and production. By aligning our efforts with these global goals, we aim to contribute to a more sustainable and equitable future for all. By choosing &BACK coffee as an in-room service amenity, together, we are driving impactful, scalable change, one coffee at a time.

In your vision of giving the "return to office" a new meaning, how do you see &BACK coffee contributing to fostering a positive and socially conscious workplace environment, and what outcomes do you hope to achieve in this regard?

Our mission is to serve as a purpose-driven partner for companies striving to infuse meaning and impact into their daily operations; ultimately, coffee is about connection. By providing ethically sourced and sustainably produced coffee, we aim to foster a positive environment where people feel empowered to make a difference through their everyday choices, starting with their morning cup of coffee. The same can be said about the inclusion of &BACK coffee as an in-room amenity at Red Carnation Hotels. Each delicious sip of our coffee represents a collective commitment to sustainability, ethical sourcing, and social responsibility, ultimately contributing to a more purposeful and impactful day for everyone - from bean-to-cup-&BACK! We invite you to brew that cup and relax while you sip, savour and uplift. Enjoy!