According to an announcement from Caravela, the investment involves the purchase of shares owned by another Dutch social investment firm, Annona Sustainable Investments, which invested in Caravela Coffee in 2011, precipitating a period of significant business growth.
At the time Annona first invested in the coffee company — whose export operations formerly bore the name Virmax — Caravela had a single Colombian export office, with an import office in the United States. Today, Caravela has seven export offices at origin, plus import offices in the U.S., the UK and Australia. The company says it has increased its green coffee sales volume by more than five times during that period.
Caravela has been focused largely in the specialty coffee segment, while about 40% of its 175-person staff works full-time with farmers as agronomists or quality analysts, according to the company. A certified B Corp, Caravela said that it paid $10 million in quality-based premiums among the nearly 4,000 farmers it purchased coffee from in 2018, representing an approximate 88% premium over commodity prices. The latter, it should be noted, were historically low during much of the past year.
“I would like to thank Annona for their instrumental support over the last eight years, which helped us reach new heights, and we are excited to welcome Oikocredit as an investor and shareholder in Caravela,” Caravela Coffee Co-Founder and CEO Alejandro Cadena said in today’s announcement. “With Oikocredit we share the same vision of generating positive financial, social and environmental return in Latin America’s rural communities, and look forward to this new partnership as we continue to grow, staying true to our mission of generating positive impact for the entire coffee industry.”