Saurin built his career working with farming communities in tropical agriculture supply chains (coffee, cocoa, cotton, banana). He spent 20 years working in rural areas, learning about the crops, cultures and land use, in order to develop projects that improve farmer access to markets, finance and information. Through this work he founded Ethos Agriculture (www.ethosag.com), a team dedicated to co-designing sustainability initiatives with coffee sector stakeholders (finance, trade, research, cooperatives and NGOs). Ethos currently supports a program promoting the next generation of coffee sustainability leaders in East Africa (in partnership with the United States Africa Development Foundation) and publishes the Coffee Barometer, which reports on the state of sustainability in the coffee sector. Prior to Ethos, Saurin was Managing Director at the Committee on Sustainability Assessment, Vice President of Root Capital, Partnership Manager for Grameen Foundation (Uganda), General Manager of a cotton cooperative (India), Technical Adviser for USAID (Armenia) and a Peace Corps Volunteer (Panama).
Saurin is also conducting his doctoral research in the school of Transition Design at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburg, Pennsylvania USA). His research interests include:
- Promoting agency of rural communities in the design of initiatives and supply chains to ensure the protection of their environments, people and values
- Examining the relevant conditions needed to transform agriculture cooperatives into centers of innovation
- Exploring the intersection of agroforestry, carbon-credits and sustainable coffee sourcing
- Understanding the importance of biocultural identity and traditional ecological knowledge in the design of sustainability programs