30 Years of transforming the coffee industry

- an interview with John Steel, CEO at Cafédirect

Café Direct is celebrating its 30th anniversary and the impact it has had on improving farmers’ lives.

In this 10 September 2021 SEUK interview, John Steel shares the Café Direct experience, and his own thoughts, on key issues for social enterprise. Questions addressed include:

  • how Café Direct trades directly with its beneficiaries and places them at the centre of its governance
  • Café Direct’s relationship with Producers Direct – a charity it set up in 2009 which amplifies impact through its Centre of Excellence, developing producer skills, and use of Café Direct donations to drive philanthropy from other organisations
  • impact measurement and Café Directgood practice examples of Café Direct’s direct support of its farmers in the face of adversity
  • how to mainstream an enterprise’s product – then and now
  • how to remain competitive at the same time as retaining the enterprise’s values
  • the challenges of expansion, including recruitment and maintaining the ethos
  • how can we effect the shift to a position where the social enterprise “alternative” model becomes “the way we do business”
  • plans for marking Café Direct’s first 30 years

Also, find out more about the Social Entrepreneurship for Community Empowerment project (SECE) at sece.online