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Coffee Companies Shine in B Lab’s 2019 Best for the World List

B Corp Best for the World

Each year, the nonprofit organization that administers B Corporation certification puts out a list of companies that it honors as being “Best for the World.” It’s basically the best of the B Corps, with big blue ribbons bestowed for bell cows in corporate responsibility.

DCN has decided to round up all the coffee companies among the hundreds honored this year, in an effort to further highlight their corporate efforts toward minimizing or improving environmental impact; improving conditions for their workers and for their community; committing to transparency; and building a more inclusive and sustainable economy — all of which are measured by B Corp administrator B Lab.

For more on B Corp certification, check out this coffee-focused feature, which first appeared in Roast magazine.

We’d like to first give special mention to these Best for the World honorees from any industry that happen to score off the charts on DCN’s own in-house assessment of hilarious company names:

Without further ado, here are coffee’s Best for the World honorees (descriptions provided by B Corp, shortened here for space):

Overall

(Scoring in the top 10% overall among B Corp companies based on the group’s impact assessment)

Caravela Coffee (Bogotá, Colombia): Virmax is a Colombian specialty coffee exporter. It distinguishes itself from other specialty coffee buyers in that it (I) is transparent in costs and pricing, down and up-stream, (II) maintains direct and long-term relation with 2,100 smallholders.

Salt Spring Coffee (Richmond, British Columbia): Founded by organic farmers in 1996 on Salt Spring, an island off Canada’s West Coast, this coffee pioneer has put social responsibility and sustainability at the cornerstone of its business.

Wicked Joe Organic Coffees (Topsham, Maine): Wicked Joe is a family-owned company committed to producing exceptional coffees using sustainable business practices from crop to cup. Located in Topsham, Maine their GMP and Organic Certified roastery is a state-of-the-art and energy-efficient facility touting three Loring Smart Roasters, LED motion sensor lighting, electric car charging stations, a solar wall and rooftop photovoltaic panels. In addition, Wicked Joe purchases renewable energy credits and carbon offsets to neutralize their emissions in the equivalent amount of 100% of their production facility’s electrical use.

Community

(According to B Lab, “their mission-driven cultures embrace social engagement, charitable giving, and strong, diverse communities.”)

Amavida Coffee (Santa Rosa Beach, Florida): Amavida Coffee is an importer and roaster of Fair Trade Organic Coffees in the panhandle of Florida. Amavida Coffee wholesales coffee, tea, and other products along with operating four (4) cafes.

Dean’s Beans (Orange, Massachusetts): Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company is a roaster, wholesaler and retailer of 100% organic, fair trade, specialty coffee, located in Orange, Massachusetts. Dean’s Beans mission has been clear for over 25 years: to use high-quality specialty coffee as a vehicle for progressive change throughout the coffeelands of Asia, Africa and the Americas. This is done through activism, ecological responsibility, and innovative development programs with direct-trade cooperative partners.

Larry’s Coffee (Raleigh, North Carolina): Larry’s Coffee is happily committed to blending and roasting innovative uniquely delicious coffees — and making the world a better place. 100% of their coffee is Fair Trade, Shade Grown, and Organic, all slow-roasted to bring out every note of indigenous flavor.

Moyee Coffee (Amsterdam, The Netherlands): Moyee is a coffee company. Growing radically good coffee is what they do. Roasting this radically good coffee in the country of origin is how they do it. Sharing the value of this radically good coffee fairly and honestly with the men and women that grow it is why they exist.

Sustainable Harvest (Portland, Oregon): Sustainable Harvest is an importer of high quality specialty-grade coffees from over 15 countries around the world. They pioneered the Relationship Coffee Model to create a closer connection between farmers and consumers, and have built their business on inclusivity, connection, and transparency. Their customers’ coffee can be found in cafes throughout North America and on grocery shelves in mainstream and specialty markets.

Peace Coffee (Minneapolis): Peace Coffee was founded in 1996 with one simple mission; to make memorable coffee that honors the farmer, cares for the planet, empowers its staff, and serves its customers to help change the way they view this beloved drink.

Vava Coffee (Nairobi, Kenya): A Social enterprise that exports, roasts and consults on coffee value chains, whose main aim is to contribute to better future prospects for coffee communities and the industry as a whole. The company ensures sustainable livelihoods for the people and communities in which it works. The farmers from whom Vava sources coffee are paid a fair and above-market price for the specialty coffee, ensuring sustainable livelihoods.

Wicked Joe Organic Coffees (Topsham, Maine): Wicked Joe is a family-owned company committed to producing exceptional coffees using sustainable business practices from crop to cup. Located in Topsham, Maine their GMP and Organic Certified roastery is a state-of-the-art and energy-efficient facility touting three Loring Smart Roasters, LED motion sensor lighting, electric car charging stations, a solar wall and rooftop photovoltaic panels. In addition, Wicked Joe purchases renewable energy credits and carbon offsets to neutralize their emissions in the equivalent amount of 100% of their production facility’s electrical use.

Just Coffee Cooperative (Madison, Wisconsin): Just Coffee, founded in 2001 developing out of a project with Mayan Zapatista coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico, began to sell coffee in 2002. They now have long standing relationships with 25 different grower co-ops in 14 different countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Just Coffee partners with the NGO On The Ground to raise awareness and funds supporting_ the work of small-scale coffee farming communities_ globally. Their energy goal is to become 100% sustainable through offsets and production efficiencies by 2019.

Higher Grounds Trading Company (Traverse City, Michigan): Higher Grounds believes that truly sustainable specialty coffee begins with and returns to growers, whose wellbeing is the heart of coffee quality. Through sales of organic, fairly traded coffee; community projects; and origin delegations, Higher Grounds offers coffee drinkers the opportunity to directly benefit producer communities.

Coffee By Design (Portland, Maine): Coffee By Design, a Maine owned and operated coffee company since 1994, is dedicated to changing the world, one cup of coffee at a time by providing customers with sustainably sourced, traceable coffee. In addition to serving some of the world’s finest coffee, Coffee By Design is committed to running a sustainable business dedicated to the arts, the environment, and the community.

Caravela Coffee (Bogotá, Colombia): Virmax is a Colombian specialty coffee exporter. It distinguishes itself from other specialty coffee buyers in that it (I) is transparent in costs and pricing, down and up-stream, (II) maintains direct and long-term relation with 2,100 smallholders.

Cafédirect (London, UK): Cafédirect is an award-winning, social enterprise and 100% Fairtrade coffee company. Half of Cafédirect’s profits are invested back into farmer communities and through its farmer-led charity, Producers Direct, Cafédirect has invested over £6m to date.

Conscious Coffees (Boulder, Colorado): Conscious Coffees purchases green coffee directly from producer partners through their coffee importing cooperative, Cooperative Coffees (coopcoffees.com). This arrangement enables transparent, long term, direct relationships with coffee growers, and eliminates the middlemen who often take potential revenue directly out of the hands of the farmers. They buy only certified organic coffee that is grown on small family farms that are collectively self-organized into cooperatives.

Bettr Barista (Singapore): Bettr Barista is a home-grown specialty coffee company founded in 2011, and Singapore’s first certified B Corporation. They are a leading provider of specialty coffee education, and are a certified Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Premier campus. They also operate a dedicated ISO 22000-certified coffee roastery, an events arm that organises full-service mobile coffee experiences and brew bars, and retail coffee bars islandwide, using these micro enterprises to amplify positive social impact in the community.

Environment

(Says B Labs, “Leading the way toward a more sustainable and regenerative planet, these companies put the environment first in their everyday business practices.”)

Daterra Coffee (Minas Gerais, Brazil): Daterra is a farm planned to offer specialty green coffee based on sustainable practices. Founded on principles of research and committed to continuous innovation to mitigate the negative impact of agriculture and promote earth preservation.

Changemakers

(Celebrates the most improved B impact scores, while requiring a finish in the top 20%.)

Thanksgiving Coffee (Fort Bragg, California): Thanksgiving Coffee grew up in the midst of a once vibrant, resource-rich environment. They learned about sustainability by watching the foundations of their local economy disappear. Their business model is informed by their experience; a light footprint on the planet and a heavy focus on economic justice was their response. Every pound of coffee they roast, and every cup that is brewed, celebrates the craftsmanship of family farmers and provides stability and hope in Mendocino County and in communities around the world.

(Editor’s note: This story has been updated. It mistakenly did not include Dean’s Beans or Amavida Coffee upon publication.)

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