Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Clinton Foundation and Leslois Shaw Foundation Join La Colombe Torrefaction to Help Revitalize the Haitian Coffee Sector

October 8, 2013,
Toronto, Canada

In support of Haiti’s redeveloping coffee culture, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the Clinton Foundation, Leslois Shaw Foundation, and La Colombe Torrefaction announce that Four Seasons will begin serving Haitian Coffee in two locations this fall. Four Seasons Hotel New York and Four Seasons Hotel Toronto will serve Haitian coffee, featuring an heirloom typica variety, grown semi-wild in the mountains surrounding Thiotte, directly sourced by La Colombe Torrefaction co-founders Todd Carmichael and Jean Philippe Iberti.

Expanding upon this partnership, the parties plan to bring quality Haitian coffee to more locations as well as collaborate on future initiatives to introduce Haitian coffee to new markets, thereby creating jobs and improving livelihoods.  To that end, the Clinton Foundation and La Colombe, with support from the Leslois Shaw Foundation, have also launched the Haiti Coffee Academy – a model coffee farm and teaching centre in one of Haiti’s primary coffee growing regions, providing skills training, seedlings, tools and resources, helping to improve the quality and quantity of yields.

“The Haiti Coffee Academy will carry on the tradition of Haitian coffee by teaching a new generation the skills of the trade,” said President Clinton. “This agreement with La Colombe, the Leslois Shaw Foundation, and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts will not only showcase one of Haiti’s finest exports, but will also provide access to new markets for Haitian coffee farmers.”

Coffee has played a significant role throughout Haiti’s history. An ecologically and economically significant crop, it is not only the main source of income for more than 100,000 farmers, but the "coffee ecosystem" also sustains a large part of the remaining tree cover (currently at less than 1.5 percent of land) of the country. One of the world’s leading coffee exporters only a century ago, Haiti has seen its gradual decline in production accelerate dramatically in recent years. The Academy will work with Haitian coffee farmers to help reverse this trend and bring new energy to Haiti’s coffee sector.

“Quality coffee is an important part of a hotel visit for many of our guests.  By procuring coffee from La Colombe and partnering with the Clinton Foundation and Leslois Shaw Foundation, we hope that Four Seasons can play a part in the revitalization of Haiti’s coffee trade.” said Christopher Hunsberger, Executive Vice President, Global Product and Innovation.

This new partnership builds on a previous initiative by Four Seasons in support of Haiti. In the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake, Four Seasons employees sprung to action, raising more than CAD 300,000 for the cause. The funds were donated to Doctors Without Borders and the Canadian Red Cross to provide medical attention and vital resources to those affected by the disaster.

The Clinton Foundation has been actively engaged in Haiti since 2009, focusing on economic diversification, private sector investment and job creation in order to create long-term, sustainable economic development. After the devastating earthquake in 2010, President Clinton formed the Clinton Foundation Haiti Fund and raised USD 16.4 million from individual donors for immediate earthquake relief efforts. Since 2010, the Clinton Foundation has raised a total of USD 34 million for Haiti, including relief funds as well as projects focused on restoring Haiti's communities, sustainable development, education and capacity building. In 2012, the Clinton Foundation concentrated on creating sustainable economic growth in the four priority sectors of energy, tourism, agriculture, and apparel/manufacturing, working to bring new investors, develop and support local organizations and businesses, and create access to new markets. The Clinton Foundation also continued working to support government efforts to improve Haiti’s business environment and supported programs in education and capacity building.

For nearly two decades, La Colombe Torrefaction has been a leading proponent of ethical long-term trade with coffee growers as well as a key supporter of certification organizations such as Fair Trade Alliance, Rainforest Alliance, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and others. Most important, however, is their direct influence on the well being of their coffee growing communities - from water resource development and borehole drilling to building and maintaining schools which support hundreds of orphaned children with housing, health care and education.

The Leslois Shaw Foundation is a private family foundation in Ontario, Canada. They have been active since 2007 supporting a wide-variety of initiatives focusing on health care, children’s issues, economic development and arts and culture.

Melinda Berman
Coordinator, Corporate Public Relations
1165 Leslie Street
Toronto, Ontario M3C 2K8