Creating a Sustainable Supply Chain: For the Love of Coffee.

By Jon Daniel McKiever

To say my internship at Marc’s Coffee Café was a rewarding experience is a gross understatement. I initially chose this organization two weeks ago because I knew it would provide me with the unique challenges I was seeking…plus, I love coffee!

I wanted marketing experience by designing promotional material for one of the local organizations. Marc needed a photographer and I had luckily purchased a new camera the day before we left for India! I knew photography would provide the creative outlet I desired and this experience would force me to work with unfamiliar software to design a marketable product for Marc and Mati.

My assignment was to tell a story of coffee from “seed to cup” through photography. Then I needed to incorporate these photos into a 2017 calendar I would design for the café. While my initial motives for choosing Marc’s café were of pure self-interest, I quickly realized this enriching work experiment would teach me much more than I’d initially anticipated.

By centering the theme of my calendar around the value chain of coffee and those involved in the process, I recognized the opportunity this experiment provided to educate prospective customers at Marc’s café about where their coffee originated.

But first….

Some Quick Coffee Facts about India:

  1. In India, “there are approximately 250,000 coffee growers; 98% of them are small growers. Over 90% of them are small farms consisting of 10 acres or less.” (1).
  1. Coffee is predominately an export-commodity in India; however, “coffee planters in India are finding significant traction in the domestic market.” (2)

Due to recent campaigns to source locally, coffee plantations are able to find more business with local coffee suppliers throughout India. It’s businesses like Marc’s Café who’ve realized the importance of maintaining a sustainable supply chain for commodities like coffee. Their endeavors have helped “develop a deeper and sustainable sourcing relationship with Indian coffee growers.” (2).

One of the coffee farms Marc’s café purchases their coffee from is Julien Peak (located up the mountains from Yercaud). This particular coffee plantation sees the value of certifying their organic and sustainable farming practices through an organization called UTZ.

UTZ’s motto is “Better Farming. Better Future.” They are one of the certification companies that are similar to what people know as being “Fair Trade.” This organizations mission and vision are posted below.

UTZ Mission

Our mission is to create a world where sustainable farming is the norm. Sustainable farming helps farmers, workers and their families to fulfill their ambitions and contributes to safeguard the world’s resources, now and in the future. (3).

UTZ Vision

A world where sustainable farming is the norm is a world where: farmers implement good agricultural practices and manage their farms profitably with respect for people and planet; industry invests in and rewards sustainable production, and consumers can enjoy and trust the products they buy. (3).

During my internship, I was able to visit Julien Peak in order to meet the coffee laborers. This experience has helped me realize I now want to work in supply chain management for a sustainable business to ensure all workers who help create finalized products are compensated with fair wages and respectable living standards. I’d also like to continue to gain experience in marketing for a sustainable company through storytelling like I did for Marc’s Café. Below you fill find photos from the 2017 Coffee Calendar with an explanation of the calendar’s purpose.



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Found above are some of the laborers who’ve planted, cultivated, harvested, sorted, pulped, picked, cleaned, and packed up coffee beans to provide a robust cup of coffee for customers of Marc’s Cafe.

The purpose of this calendar was to tell their story.  It’s easy to forget the labor that goes into producing a seamlessly simple product such as coffee. The aim of the calendar was to reveal the complexities, and beauty, of the coffee supply chain.

This calendar sought to expose the value chain of coffee. By taking the viewer on a visual journey from seed to cup, Marc’s Café hopes consumers will appreciate the labor of love required to produce coffee. By purchasing products at Marc’s Café, costumers are directly supporting the livelihoods of the coffee laborers shown throughout this calendar. For further information about products and Marc’s story, please follow the links below.


Instagram: @marcscoffees

Facebook: Marc’s café, Roast & Taste


  1. Lee, Hau Leung; Lee, Chung-Yee (2007). Building supply chain excellence in emerging economies. pp. 293–94. ISBN0-387-38428-6.
  1. India Brand Equity Foundation. “Coffee Statistics.” Coffee Production in India, Coffee Industry, Cultivation, Statistics. N.p., 2016. Web. 10 Jan. 2017.
  1. UTZ. “About UTZ.” N.p., 2016. Web. 10 Jan. 2017. <;.

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