Coffee giants call on consumers to help change lives in Ethiopian communities

- Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee will match public donations and portion of sales of Marley Coffee® capsules will be contributed to clean polluted rivers in Ethiopia's Sidama region -

MISSISSAUGA, ON, April 22, 2015 /CNW/ - Starting on International Earth Day (April 22), one of North America's leading coffee and tea companies is appealing to coffee drinkers to make the important connection between their morning brew and the people living in the world's coffee growing regions.

Over the past three years, Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee has made a significant investment to create the non-profit Water Wise Coffee™ program as part of the Canadian company's broader commitment to sustainability. In some areas of the world, the wet milling process of extracting beans from the coffee cherries produces organic waste that can pollute local water supplies. The Water Wise Coffee™ program helps mill owners naturally filter water by using sustainable vetiver grass.

In just 24 months, independent test results on the areas that have been treated by the program have shown dramatic improvement in water quality and living conditions for the people who depend on the rivers for their water supply.

"Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world but few Canadian consumers understand how coffee is farmed and processed on its way to their cup," said Shannon Higgins, a fourth generation member of the Higgins family that founded Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee over 100 years ago. Higgins recently visited Ethiopia to see the program's benefits first-hand. "Coffee has been very good to our family and we are committed to giving back. Although our company sources a very small portion of our green coffee beans from Ethiopia, there is a real need there for help and support."

There are now more than 26 wet mills with vetiver grass wetlands and Mother Parkers is committed to converting all 220 accessible wet mills in the Sidama coffee region by 2020. The program is administered by TechnoServe, a not-for-profit organization that develops business solutions to address global poverty.

Mother Parkers is appealing to conscientious consumers to help in its mission and donate to the Water Wise Coffee™ program. Mother Parkers will match up to $100,000 in public donations, in addition to its ongoing multi-year funding commitment.  The money raised from donors will help the program convert more wet mills in 2015 to cleaner, more sustainable processes.  Public donations can be made through a highly visual and informative website (www.waterwisecoffee.com) and will go directly to a project in Ethiopia administered by TechnoServe.

Consumers can also learn more from a unique documentary featuring Rohan Marley, founder and chairman of the Marley Coffee Company and son of the legendary musician Bob Marley. The documentary highlights the economic and human impacts of coffee production in Ethiopia and the recent success of the Water Wise Coffee™ program. The Marley Coffee® brand will donate one cent of every single-serve coffee capsule sold to support the Water Wise Coffee™ program.

"Coffee connects us in so many ways – to each other, to our senses and to the earth that supports the coffee trees," said Marley.  "The Marley family, like the Higgins family, has a long history in coffee.  I spent time living in Ethiopia, learning about the cultural importance of coffee and its roots in Ethiopia. I remember my grandmother drying wild coffee berries in the sun, then hulling and roasting them for her own cup of coffee each morning.  My father always said that one day he would stop playing music and just farm.  I've taken on that dream and I know he would be pleased with what we are doing for the people of Ethiopia through the Water Wise Coffee™ program."

The program has attracted an impressive list of sports, music and business icons who will be supporting the call to action by mobilizing their social media followers using #WaterWiseMovement.

About Water Wise Coffee™:
The program is administered by TechnoServe, a registered non-profit organization that has been recognized for nine consecutive years with four-star ratings by Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of charitable organizations. The program is fully transparent and details of how Water Wise Coffee™ spends its investment are available.

About Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee:
Mother Parkers is one of North America's leading coffee and tea companies, providing best-in-class private label solutions for some of the world's largest retailers and foodservice companies. It also manufactures its own brands, including Higgins & Burke™ tea, and Mother Parkers®, Brown Gold®, Martinson® and Marley Coffee®, in multiple formats. Mother Parkers is a leading innovator in the single-serve market with the patented RealCup® brand of hot beverage capsules and the recyclable EcoCup™ capsule. The Company combines state-of-the-art technology and new product innovation with more than 102 years of business excellence to consistently deliver solutions for customers.

SOURCE Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee

Video with caption: "Video: The non-profit Water Wise Coffee™ program (www.waterwisecoffee.com) was created by Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee (www.mother-parkers.com) to improve lives and waterways in coffee growing regions of the world. Consumers can make a real difference by joining Mother Parkers and donating to the project at www.WaterWiseCoffee.com/GetInvolved. (CNW Group/Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee)". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20150422_C4501_VIDEO_EN_14525.mp4&posterurl=http%3A%2F%2Fphotos.newswire.ca%2Fimages%2F20150422_C4501_VIDEO_EN_14525.jpg&order=1&jdd=20150422&cnum=C4501

Image with caption: "Rohan Marley, founder and chairman of the Marley Coffee Company and son of legendary musician Bob Marley, on a recent visit to Ethiopia to see the positive impacts of the Water Wise Coffee™ program (www.WaterWiseCoffee.com) on the lives of people in the region. Marley is the program's Global Ambassador. Photo credit: Victor Biro. (CNW Group/Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150422_C4501_PHOTO_EN_14524.jpg

Image with caption: "Water Wise Coffee™ (CNW Group/Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150422_C4501_PHOTO_EN_14562.jpg

For further information: Brown & Cohen Communications & Public Affairs Inc., 416-484-1132: Tim Lai, ext. 4, tim@brown-cohen.com or Fiona Robinson, ext. 6, fiona@brown-cohen.com; or Kerry Morgan from Mother Parkers, (905) 273-2491, or KMorgan@mother-parkers.com

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