Saving the world one luxury product at a time

(Not everyone will be able to see this video – will depend where you live, I’m afraid)

I want to help the people of South Sudan. But it looks so very complicated. You know all that business of a new country, a haven for a population that has suffered for years at the hands of Omar al-Bashir. Wasn’t it supposed to be a land of milk and honey on the banks of the White Nile, ending years of hunger and oppression? Weren’t we all hoping for independence as the solution? Why didn’t it work out?

For a while I thought maybe an arms embargo might help. After all, the crisis today seems to be entirely human-made, as two leaders wrestle for control of their new land, spending money they can’t afford.

How is a chap supposed to help? Thankfully it seems I simply have to drink premium coffee. Thank you George Clooney and Nespresso.

Nestle, of course, has a near perfect record in the developing world.

And we all know that coffee is the perfect vehicle for local populations to shrug off whatever colonial bonds might have been holding them back, ahem.

This is how Clooney – noted for his work on Sudan and South Sudan – brought it up a couple of years ago:

“Yesterday we got to drink coffee of South Sudan, and this is the only export to have come out of South Sudan besides oil since the war. The problem with oil being of course that a company takes the oil from beneath the feet of the people living there via a pipeline, back of a truck and a dock in Khartoum. Oftentimes the government gets a small proportion and it doesn’t seem to trickle down.”

Ultimately, of course anything that promotes investment in South Sudan has to be a good thing. But I’ll be very keen to know how much of money is trickling down to South Sudanese farmers. After all, at the equivalent of $51 a pound, Nespresso is some of the most expensive coffee you can buy – produced from a raw material that costs less than $2 a pound.

My fear is that when you have a multimillion dollar deal to advertise a coffee brand, then every problem looks like a coffee bean. Or something.

UPDATE (forgot to mention that I wrote this because video appeared in my inbox on Saturday morning)


One thought on “Saving the world one luxury product at a time

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s