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Per their website, "For over two decades our mission has been clear: to use high quality specialty coffee as a vehicle for progressive change throughout the coffee-growing region of Asia, Africa and the Americas. We do this through activism, ecological responsibility and innovative, direct development programs with our cooperative partners."
Dean Cycon, founder and CEO of Dean's Beans began the company in 1993 with a radical business model, one that turns traditional business thinking on its head: the design and intention of using his business specifically to be an agent of change, dealing directly with farmers growing the coffee crops for Dean’s Beans. The ultimate goal of the company is not how many farmers they work with, but rather “how empowered are the people we work with through the process.” Dean continued, "Rather than taking part of our profits and doing charitable work, we do direct development work and engage fully with the communities in each of the 10 countries where we work (Indonesia, Timor, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru, and Columbia). Each community decides what their highest priorities are; we don't decide this for them."
Dean is a pioneer in the triple-bottom line of people, planet, and profit. Dean's Beans has been using business as the vehicle for social impact since its conception back in 1993. This is evident in its motto: "Drink Deep!"
Dean’s inspirations are as varied as his interests, from his family, to lawyers, to the New York Mets! His family has taught him the importance of self-care and humility, as well as being in total service to one another because of a deep love. While he was in high school, lawyers (of which he ultimately became one) taught him the importance of organizing and getting out of Vietnam, a war he never agreed with. And what about the New York Mets you might ask? Dean was nine years old when this team was formed, the worst team in baseball. Yet they had aspirations to be the best. The New York Mets taught Dean “how underdogs aspire,” with their try, try, and try again to win attitude, and he’s always taken that same attitude in everything he’s done.
Whether it be reforestation projects with indigenous farmers in Peru, sponsoring maternal health clinic in Timor, building schools and paying for teachers in Ethiopia, or providing women’s loans funds in Peru and Guatemala, Dean’s Beans has impact in each of the 10 countries where the coffee growers live, with each community deciding what its highest priorities are.
The innovation has sustained the business for over two decades. Dean’s Beans is organic, fair trade, and kosher, and there is a demand for this in the marketplace.
Dean continues to create change both societally in the 10 countries where he purchases coffee beans, as well as at home, where one of his most recent environmental changes was in 2014, when Dean’s Beans launched the first home-compostable coffee packaging in the United States. This is in response to the individual coffee “pods” that have been littering landfills for years.
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Dean Cycon, Founder and CEO