Dean’s Beans wins ‘Best For The World” award 

  • Brendan Walsh and the rest of the crew roast and bag coffee at Dean’s Bean Organic Coffee Co. in the Orange Industrial Park. Staff File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Dean Cycon of Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Co. sits in his Orange office surrounded by souvenirs and accolades from decades of selling fair trade coffee from around the world. Staff File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 9/22/2019 11:18:29 PM

ORANGE — As a company that not only buys and sells coffee beans, but trains coffee growers in Sumatra to herd elephants back into the woods and away from crops, Dean’s Beans is not the norm. And that’s why it continues to win awards.

Orange’s Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Co. has won a “Best For The World” award in recognition of its “significant positive impact on communities of coffee farmers around the world, and for how they’ve built this level of care into their business model,” according to Katherine Parcell, human resources and administrative manager at Dean’s Beans.

“We design and fund people-centered development projects in each community we work with, based on the communities’ chosen priorities,” CEO and Founder Dean Cycon said.

The award was given to Dean’s Beans as a Certified B Corporation, a program by the global nonprofit B Lab, which certifies companies that are for-profit yet use their businesses to pursue goals that might be typical of nonprofits, such as community development and alleviating poverty and hunger. There are roughly 3,000 Certified B Corporations in 150 industries and across 64 countries.

In its 26th year, Dean’s Beans continues to work directly with coffee farming communities across the world, building infrastructure for the communities, helping those communities — often indigenous peoples — with legal or land-ownership disputes, combating the effects of climate change and supporting literacy and clean-water projects.

The company continues to win awards, including becoming an Oslo Business for Peace Honoree, known as “the Nobel Prize of business,” Cycon said. This year, Dean’s Beans also won a 2019 Flourish Prize, a global award given to the company in recognition of its work toward the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals in eliminating poverty.

Cycon started the company in 1994 to prove his hypothesis — that a business could be both for-profit and create “meaningful change” for indigenous communities in Asia, Africa and the Americas.

A recent project, according to Cycon, was in Sumatra, where workers were trained in property rights to prevent the encroachment of palm oil plantations on their lands. The project also included training mahouts — people who work with elephants — to lead the threatened animals back into the forest when they stumble upon villages or farms.

“Dean’s Beans earned this honor because of their exemplary supplier relations with coffee farmers, and involvement in the coffee farming communities, as well as their local community,” Parcell said.

According to Cycon, the company’s approach is award-winning because it focuses on “the real needs of local communities for the ecological, economic and social necessities of life that are often disrupted by conventional development assistance.”

“This is all in direct partnership with the farmers who know better than anybody else how to help themselves,” Cycon said.

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.


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