Written by Irina Orellana at SCA 2019, in Boston, MA. Published May 2 on her blog, “La vida es bella, aunque no me creas.” Translated into English for La Terza on July 8.

I must admit that the SCA Expo (Specialty Coffee Association Expo) exceeded my expectations in every way!

There is so much to see and learn in this fair, and it is worth every dollar invested!

While I had some time, I decided to attend one of the many masterful presentations in the world of coffee, and I opted for a topic of great importance, suggested by our friends from La Terza Coffee. Its CEO, Mr. David Gaines, made his dissertation on some important aspects to consider to improve the quality of life or social condition of those with whom we interact, that is, how to achieve a positive impact through our business in the world of coffee.

We have to start with the concept of Social Entrepreneurship, which differs from others because it uses tools and business resources to positively impact others.

Living in a first world country, one example of an inescapable question that arises is how to improve the living conditions of producers and cultivators in underdeveloped countries like ours. However, this open and sincere dialogue raised by Mr. Gaines deeply challenged me. While it is true that it is important to work for the profitability of businesses in Honduras, it is also crucial to ask ourselves why we do what we do, and how we can positively impact these 7 groups of people with whom we interact:

1. The supply chain (supplies)

2. Work team or collaborators

3. Customers

4. Competitors

5. The community

6. The environment

7. Personal care (ourselves)

In this dissertation called “The Seven Seeds of Social Enterprise: Using Your Coffee Business for Social Good,” Mr. Gaines allowed me to see that in Honduras there is a lot to be done. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve been motivated to rethink my mission as an entrepreneur, and to be more creative about how I could start taking small steps to improve life for those I listed previously. For example, what do we do to work hand in hand with our competitors, or to relate better to them? How do we strengthen the supply chain? What are the needs of our suppliers? Why have we decided to work with them? How can I motivate my baristas, besides training them and paying them a decent salary? What strategies can I implement to keep my clients loyal and guarantee their full satisfaction? How can I take care of my health to guarantee my participation in the company, and my support to others when they need me in the meantime and in the long term?

There are a lot of similarities with the pillars proposed by the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) movement, however, I believe that the potential that exists in the coffee world is much greater, since it is largely based on the trust that generally exists between those involved. The time it takes us to strengthen relationships is much less than in other industries. The world of coffee is noble! It’s up to us to do it much better, bigger, and with more humanity!

Photographs by Irina Orellana, SCA 2019, Boston, April 14, 2019.


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