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A Note From Jeff: Teaching Ethical Business Practices in India

A Note From Jeff: Teaching Ethical Business Practices in India

At the beginning of May, I had the opportunity to travel to Indore, India for two weeks to teach at Acropolis University. I had the opportunity to teach the principles of social entrepreneurship, sustainability, ethical business practices and a principle I consider to be the most important in all of business.

This principle is simply:

“Finding Purpose in What You Do.”

Life is a bucket, and we’re only one drop of many. I have always maintained the belief that we are not just a coffee company. Rather, we’re an ‘Opportunity Business’ for our farmers. This is how Camano Island Coffee Roasters is ‘Finding Purpose in What We Do’.”

In Finding Purpose, What can YOU Do: The Triple Bottom Line.

Well, while teaching some of India’s finest students, I explained my blueprint for “Finding Purpose in What You Do”, with what I like to call the Triple Bottom Line:

 1) Do good for the environment

2) Be good to the people around you

3) Do good business in creating profit

The Triple Bottom Line is my blueprint for “Finding Purpose in What You Do”. But what I found to be one of the most gratifying out of my trip was how these students already practice The Triple Bottom Line without even realizing it!

The Indian students I taught were a median age of 25, and they believed wholeheartedly that they are in fact the new generation of change. This generation will eliminate India’s notorious Caste system. Even though their grandparents believed in it, and their parents put up with it, this generation will no longer tolerate it. Instead, they want equal chances and will not strive for anything less. Truly, this generation lives for ethical business practices.

I’m teaching ethical business practices to these incredible students.


What I love most about traveling and learning about different cultures, is the amazing entrepreneurial spirit these folks have. There’s a horizon of entrepreneurs that bleeds into the system, spreading innovation, new ideas and bringing about ethical business practices.

They honestly believe they are a middle class country and they will continue to improve even though ‘statistics’ of India say otherwise. I have had the privilege to travel to 40 countries and I have found an amazing common belief everywhere I go: young people are more in touch with the truth than any generation. They refuse to live for themselves as much as an older generation may. They would rather become part of something bigger and level the playing field through ethical business practices.

Even, after many decades of top down leadership, innovation is embraced greatly in India. Seeing these students excited about doing ethical business and becoming a part of something much bigger than themselves just fired me up. I believe, there is no such thing as a limited resource but rather limited thinking. These students do not — by any means — have limited thinking.

Camano Island Coffee Roasters — Finding Purpose in What We Do By Living Ethical Business Practices.

Ethical business practices transcends into what we believe here at Camano Island Coffee Roasters. We do not give handouts to help the poor, but rather walk with the poor. Doing the simple act of drinking a cup of our coffee, is directly helping 24,000 farmers worldwide.

By doing this, we give them life changing education and opportunities to sustain themselves which leads to generational change. Poverty makes you invisible, however, as a loyal coffee drinker, you help bring out those in the shadows of poverty.

Let’s face it, our farmers deserve nothing but fairness, the opportunity to break the generational barriers, and the ability to sustain themselves.

Camano Island Coffee — with you, the coffee lover as our partner — gives them this opportunity to better their lives and their children’s lives forever.

I may be back home on my beautiful island of Camano, but I feel as if a piece of my heart was left in India. I wish from the bottom of my heart, the very best for my Indian students and hope that they can become the new generation of entrepreneurial change, prosperity and integrity.


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An Ethical Coffee Meeting with Agros International

An Ethical Coffee Meeting with Agros International

This past Wednesday, Dan and I had the opportunity to visit Agros HQ in Seattle. It was a great time and they were very hospitable to us.  We were able to share some of the new things CICR has been working on.  Many new faces (for me at least) were there for the meeting.

Our customers all know of our close relationship with Agros as we talk about it all the time.  Just as it’s important for us to communicate to you the changes you create through being members of our Coffee Lover’s Club, it’s also important for us to spend time communicating our focus on ethical coffee with Agros as well.  For us, giving Agros a check from our Coffee Lover’s Club orders is only a sustainable act if we can also communicate with Agros and allow them to communicate back.  Knowing of Agros’ future goals is part of responsible giving and ethical coffee.  Allowing Agros to communicate their goals back is part of responsible receiving.  We’re so happy to have a wonderful relationship with Agros.

Dan brought his camera and took a few pictures in between making Frozen X-plosion’s and serving brewed coffee.

The table we sat at had a wonderfully colorful tablecloth.  Emily at Agros provided Dan and I very delicious sandwiches! Shannon grabbed Dan’s camera when he came out with the Frozen X-plosion’s for everyone and took a couple great pictures: Here are a few of the Agros workers enjoying Frozen X-plosion’s. The purpose of our visit was for me to share CICR’s vision for ethical coffee with Agros and “update” them on the things happening around CICR. All-in-all, we had a great time celebrating ethical coffee and sustainability.

Jeff – CICR

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Teaching Ethical Business – Edmonds Community College

This note is a little late and we apologize for that! On Friday, February 27th, Camano Island Coffee Roasters was able to host a class of 19 people from Edmonds Community College. Jeff gave them a tour and was able to talk with them about sustainable business. Another hot topic they discussed was a very important topic to us at CICR: Ethical Business. The class received the discussion warmly and were open and inquisitive. Thank you to Edmonds Community College for the opportunity to spend time sharing our business and our vision with you!


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Do Ethics Matter in Business?

Do ethics matter

Do ethics matter After 8 years as President of Camano Island Coffee Roasters I am convinced that the goal of every business is to listen to their “community”, give their “customers” what they ask for, and enrich the “communities” they are a part of.

At CICR, each one our customers or “prosumers” as we call them, supports what we are doing by purchasing our ethical coffee. Our community is the thousands of people we roast for, the many churches, schools, and businesses who buy from us, as well as the countries around the globe we send product to. Without you, we could not help support the 39 villages who are now on the path to sustainability. We know these great people are the most important link in the coffee chain.

Do ethics matter?

We are asked by many, why it matters where they purchase their coffee from. They may add that they already give money to charity and they don’t need to worry about issues like charity when buying their coffee. Our current US economic climate proves my point. We must end the climate of welfare, both for the people and for business.

Do Ethics matter? Let’s look at the results.

True success comes when people are given the tools necessary to own their own destiny and the education necessary to be self reliant (and not have money thrown at them). Why wouldn’t everyone be responsible with their coffee purchases knowing that a fair price is being paid to the farmers who actually do the work?

All we need to do is help these hardworking people secure the money for their land, help them in organizing their village, and pay them a fair price for growing organic, shade-grown coffee. With the right amount of work and a little time, we will end this worldwide cycle of welfare and begin working in true partnerships with our “prosumers” around the globe and our farmers. Then we can enjoy a safe cup of ethical coffee and know that everyone benefited from our purchase.

Ethics DO matter in business; ethics also matter here at Camano Island Coffee Roasters. That’s why we say that at CICR, we only sell “Coffee that helps you sleep at night”.

Please check out for more info on the sustainable change we are a part of.

Jeff – CICR

Do ethics matter