Dean Cycon, creator of Dean’s Beans, discusses how to build a profitable and ethical company rooted in reverence for the environment, the farmer, and the customer in episode 103 of the Disruptors for GOOD podcast. After working as an environmental and indigenous rights lawyer, Dean Cycon founded Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company in 1993. He set out to show that a for-profit company could make a difference by using ethical business practises based on respect for the environment, farmers, coworkers, and customers.
Dean worked as an indigenous rights and environmental lawyer for over a decade before joining the coffee industry in 1988 to co-found Coffee Kids, the industry’s first non-profit development organisation.
After five years of developing and overseeing Coffee Kids’ creation arm, Dean realised that charity wasn’t enough; companies needed to change their basic operating principles if they wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of farmers. Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee was created by him in 1993 with the goal of using speciality coffee as a tool for positive social, economic, and environmental change at the source.
Dean has served as a Woods Hole Research Fellow, a Senior Fulbright Scholar, and a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School.
Dean’s book “Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee,” about social justice, history, and coffee, won the Gold Medal for Best Travel Essay Book of 2008 from the Independent Publishers Association, and has been published in English, Korean, and Chinese.
Dean’s Beans’ goal is to use high-quality speciality coffee as a tool for progressive change in Asia, Africa, and the Americas’ coffeelands. This is accomplished by:
Direct People-Centered Development Programs with Cooperative Partners Activism and Ecological Responsibility Innovative direct People-Centered Development Programs with Cooperative Partners Activism and Ecological Responsibility
For over twenty-five years, the organisation has been actively involved in community growth and advocacy.
All of the high-quality speciality coffees are Organic, Fair Trade, and Kosher certified, and are roasted fresh to order in small batches at the company’s beanery in Orange, Massachusetts. The widespread use of pesticides in coffee production has a negative impact on the coffee-growing world’s ecology as well as the health of farm communities.