Get to know Lee Mcdermid

Meet Lee Mcdermid the Managing Director of Prima Roastery in Christchurch, New Zealand. Last June, Lee and a team of 6 others including photographer Josh Griggs headed to the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. This origin tour was about gaining insights into coffee production, deepening relationships with producers and for many it was the trip of a life time. To mark a year since this trip this months partner spotlight features Lee.

Tell me something that excites you about your role or company? 

I love my role and the coffee industry in general because it’s so diverse. Starting with sourcing coffee from people across the globe to finally serving cups to our community daily.  All the challenges in between are what make it exciting and rewarding.
What are your organisation’s sustainability priorities? 
Our two main sustainability priorities we’ve invested in are ethical sourcing and reducing single-use packaging waste.
Ethical sourcing involves both people and the environment and Fairtrade play a huge part here by helping us ensure standards are met by us and growers at origin.
Meaningful carbon emission reduction is an aspirational for us too.
 What are the key challenges in achieving them, and what kind of leadership do you demonstrate?  
As always there are challenges balancing these priorities with everything else in the world of coffee. But we’ve built a culture of sustainability in our business, driven by the whole team, and so that flows through pretty naturally to solutions.     
Can you share a career highlight with us?  
A major career highlight was our trip to PNG with Fairtrade last year. Meeting so many of the amazing people who have been growing the coffee we’ve been using in our blends for over a decade was incredible. And seeing how much our visit meant to them was really special.
Finally, what does Fairtrade mean for you and your organisation?  
Fairtrade is a way for us to ensure that our products are produced with respect for people and the planet.
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