Just going to Project Nuture in the Havard report its noted the Coke will recover its investment many times over. And here's the point: an initiative like this is commendable however without a doubt Coke's will message this in its marketing to build brand value/equity and drive up its NBAV (net brand asset value). So there'll be exponential ROI for Coke. The question is - in the full knowledge of how its efforts with Project Nuture will enhance NBAV - is the arrangement truly equitable? On balance its seems very one-sided.
Perhaps the best way to frame this is to recount how Anita Roddick, personally cashed out making around $400 million selling Body Shop to L’Oreal in a deal valued at $1,2 billion. She masterfully manipulated Body Shop’s version of Fair Trade with her “Body Shop Supports Communities” campaign. Take the Brazil nut oil ingredient example: Roddick is recorded, saying that Body Shop paid at least twice the local price for Brazil nut oil and thereby could justifiably claim that indigenous communities benefited greatly from the venture. Body Shop milked the “we-are-buying-the-Brazil-nut-oil-story-from-the-poor-forest-communities”, claiming this supported the Amazon forest communities’ struggle to preserve their way of life, was promoting the need for Amazon conservation, and forging the partnerships needed to manage a great Amazon biological treasure trove of species. In so doing the Body Shop saw a significant increase in their corporate brand’s value from the bounty of favorable PR marketing that the Brazil nut containing products generated. Stoking the fire of the Body Shop brand story to take advantage of her customers’ charitable instincts, led to mega-millions for Roddick but nothing for the thousands of Body Shop forest-based communities or Developing World suppliers she so frequently used and dropped as she moved to the next flavor or ingredient of the month. It is without question morally wrong and exploitive – and very much against the spirit of Fair Trade – to pay a few extra pennies more to poor community suppliers and then leverage this to build brands and businesses worth millions. Very disappointing insights for those who believed that Roddick operated with a superior moral compass to other business operators and most astounding of all she gets a knighthood for this!! ( this is another Roddick perspective not widely considered http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-482012/Queen-Green-Roddic... ) It would have been infinitely preferable if she had allocated Body Shop's Community suppliers say 10% of Body Shop's equity - at the time of the L’Oreal sale this would be worth $124 million. Instead of the extra pennies she paid for thier ingredients they would have built real wealth.
Coming back to Project Nuture of course its great that thousands of farmers are earning, that they are embedded into a successful brand's supply chain however the model needs to configured mor inclusively so that these farmers move from suppliers to brand co-owners. We've worked on this and our efforts are currently framed like this:
Promoting co-ownership and sharing Intangible Brand Value with poor producers, EquiTrade™ enables small-scale farmers to share via equity in the value of a brand-led business. It is a huge multiplier of value and sets the standard for life-changing upward financial mobility for farmers, producers and small enterprise owners who are traditionally at the base of the global economic pyramid. EquiTrade™ represents a staggering, high-powered economic pathway out of poverty. EquiTrade™ is wealth-constraint alleviation and enables the poor to increase their market power and rise out of poverty by sharing ownership of the crown jewels of capitalism — Intellectual Property (IP) and Successful Brands.
Hope brand-owners can get on board with this an catalyze a whole new pro-development brand genre wherein they configure and launch EquiTrade™ type brands in partnership with their poor farmer suppliers.