Corporate Social Responsibility in the Coffee Sector

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Since the collapse of the international coffee agreement in 1989, attention has increasingly focused on the role of multinational corporations in this sector. As the main actors in the international coffee chain, companies such as Sara Lee/Douwe Egberts, Nestlé and Kraft have been pressurised to show their responsibility in dealing with the crisis, and helping find a solution to the problem of which they are part as well. This article analyses the dynamic development of multinationals’ corporate responses and the interaction with the different stakeholders, which has resulted in a cascade of codes of conduct over the years. The peculiarities, dilemmas and challenges related to the recent multistakeholder ‘Common Code for the Coffee Community’ will be outlined, as well its (im)possibilities in dealing with the coffee crisis.