Former Keurig Green Mountain Executive Joins Lutheran World Relief to Promote Coffee and Cocoa Partnerships

November 19, 2014

Nikki Massie, Staff Writer, Lutheran World Relief

On October 16, 2014, Rick Peyser, past president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and seasoned Keurig Green Mountain executive, joined Lutheran World Relief (LWR) as senior relationship manager for coffee and cocoa.

Peyser will serve as a part of LWR’s New Business Development team and will work to identify and promote strategic partnerships in support of the organization’s work in the cocoa and coffee value chains.

“Rick’s expertise will be a key asset to our work aimed at deepening the private and nonprofit relationships already achieving positive change and better bottom lines for farmers, and further developing Lutheran World Relief’s coffee and cocoa programs in Southeast Asia, Central America and East Africa,” said Daniel Speckhard, LWR’s president and CEO.

Rick Peyser (right) with a coffee farmer in Huehuetenango, Guatemala in August, 2014. Courtesy: LWR

Rick Peyser (right) with a coffee farmer in Huehuetenango, Guatemala in August, 2014. Courtesy: LWR

For more than 20 years, LWR has been working to improve the lives of smallholder coffee and cocoa farmers across the globe. By forging relationships on the ground with local nongovernmental organizations, farmers´ organizations, community councils and local governments, and with manufacturers around the world, the organization is focused on increasing producers’ quality and quantity. At the same time, work has advanced rural development, increased food security, and protected natural resources in the face of a changing climate.

LWR recently launched Ground Up, an initiative to educate and empower more than 20,000 smallholder coffee and cocoa farmers in 10 countries through hands-on training and technical assistance. These training programs cover the latest growing techniques, crop diversification, climate-smart agricultural practices and provide tools for a lifetime of success.

LWR has partnered with companies like The Hershey Company to help farmers improve cocoa crops. Peyser will work to form more of these strategic partnerships to increase the impact of LWR’s work to strengthen the coffee and cocoa supply chains from crop to cup and from bean to bar.

“From my first foray into the world of coffee in the late 1980s to where I am today, my passion for creating positive social and economic change in the lives of smallholder farmers has only continued to grow,” said Peyser. “I’m very excited to bring my experience and energy to Lutheran World Relief’s impressive work to improve the lives of smallholder coffee and cocoa farmers, their families and communities across the globe, and I look forward to what lies ahead.”

In addition to holding leadership positions in both the SCAA and the Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International, Peyser served for nearly 27 years with Keurig Green Mountain, most recently as director of social advocacy and coffee community outreach. He is also the author of Brewing Change: Behind the Bean at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, which provides an in-depth analysis of the sustainable coffee movement.

To learn more about LWR’s coffee and cocoa work, visit www.lwr.org/groundup.