This study examines the empowerment of low-power, vulnerable stakeholders of global, complex supply chains as one effective strategy to increase value co-creation and to moderate the vulnerabilities that threaten supply chain resilience. Previous scholars have indicated the necessity of investigating the concept of value co-creation further by including various stakeholder perspectives and suggesting systems of evaluation. This research thus focuses on low-power smallholder farmers within the coffee supply chain by qualitatively evaluating the effectiveness of value co-creation projects. The study also analyzes the extent of development and the nature of empowerment initiatives designed conjointly by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and coffee roasters that are addressed to farmers. The mixed qualitative methodology includes a literature review, interviews, focus groups, and content analysis of 20 value co-creation projects conducted in various developing and emerging coffee-producing countries. The research proposes a theoretical framework employed to conduct focus groups with Brazilian coffee farmers. This framework empirically demonstrates that these farmers are in the process of becoming business partners of the coffee supply chain thanks to various empowerment initiatives, common to most of the analyzed projects, that appear to moderate specific vulnerabilities of the coffee supply chain and therefore benefit supply chain resilience.
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