Pulsating Fraternity - Organic Coffee as the Link Between the Indigenous Communities and the Western Market
The case presents the history of a group's social enterprises in southern Mexico, which coordinates the coffee chain that has provided an alternative form of economy for the region's indigenous families. Based on a historic context of inequalities and armed struggles, as well as lack of access to Western markets, the Tseltal community has created a different form of organization: a group of social enterprises. The Yomol A'tel trajectory starts in 2002 resulting from a Jesuit priest's initiative where he observed a regional necessity for communities to become direct coffee suppliers, ending their dependence upon middlemen. Today the project has six social enterprises that coordinate the coffee chain, guaranteeing financial stability.
This case study can be used in both undergraduate and graduate classes where an emphasis on cultural plurality and social enterprises is suggested. The proposal of this case is to work on a new vision of the market providing the students with a new perspective to the traditional format of the economy and of organizations.
Pedagogically speaking, its intention is to work with the following skills: personal communication, teamwork, group discussions – learning to listen, giving your opinion and arguing your point, as well as developing the ability to create new solutions to organizational problems.
At the end of the discussions, the students will have acquired knowledge in these areas: planning, decision-making, culture and identity and market and product diversification. Moreover, professors will be able to encourage students to look for new relations with the presented topic or other cases that could be used to compliment the learning taught in the class.