Making a buzz and demand-worthy coffee is no longer just about unique branding, creative coffee shop design or making the most excellent roast in the city; it's also about doing good. Of course not all coffee drinkers mandate moral treatment of people and planet, but demand for ethical coffee innovations is undoubtedly percolating.
Whether through Fair Trade certification, set up of entrepreneurship programs for coffee farmers, or through business models that donate a portion of profits toward a social cause, the ethical coffee companies featured in the cluster above are all giving back to the world in one way or another.
A recent study showed that 94% of consumers would choose a brand with a social purpose over one that doesn't have one, if there was no difference in price. One of the first arguments that comes to mind is that purpose-oriented businesses often need to charge more than their competitors; however, in a lot of cases in the coffee industry, businesses that haven't incorporated social causes are charging more than the average supermarket tin or cup of gas station brew costs. So if the price is the same, why not buy the roast with soul?
The cluster above features a selection of innovative coffee (and tea) pioneers who are using their businesses for social good. Undoubtedly there will always be a market for cheaper -- and often less ethical -- coffee, but the increasing popularity of cause coffee is proving that consumers want the choice to be caring.
21 Ethical Coffee Brands
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Social Businesses Using Beverage and Bean Sales to Give Back
Published: Dec 30, 2011