We are a small business pursuing a big idea, attempting to catalyse change in the world’s second biggest commodity market.
Big Rock was co-founded by two friends, Dean Sanders and Alistair Geddes.
Dean has spent the last twenty years helping businesses to serve society and the planet at the same time as their customers. A large part of that work has been directed at the coffee supply chain, seeking to find solutions to the poor working conditions and poverty that are endemic in many coffee origins. Dean’s the one with all the big ideas, the hope and the vision. He’s never happier than being out in the field with our grower partners.
Alistair worked for several international coffee brands before joining Dean in his work promoting sustainability. Alistair is the realist and has all the fun trying to put the big ideas into practice. Above all else we are both committed to and passionate about making this work for the growers.
Coffee farmers are really having a hard time of it: coffee prices have declined in real terms by around 70% since the 1980’s. For most smallholders, incomes now barely cover the cost of production and their farms have become subsistence operations. Many have limited social support and few can save for their old age. And when you add climate change to the mix it’s not hard to see why the next generation is opting out of coffee farming. This just seems unfair to us, and it’s a big surprise to almost everybody we talk to.
The sheer size of the challenge facing large coffee companies to make a meaningful difference to the lot of smallholder farmers made us think that maybe we could do things as a small business that they couldn’t. Like reinventing the supply chain from scratch, making it fully transparent, working directly with growers and all the other people who work to get the coffee from the farm to the roastery. We want to change coffee for good, so that coffee lovers can continue to buy exceptional quality coffee and there will be growers around still able and willing to supply it.