Coffee culture is having a renaissance. We are aping London of the eighteenth century, when our ancestors couldn’t get enough of the brown stuff. But while their caffeine fuelled debates about politics, fashion and philosophy, we still mostly use it to get us out of bed each day.
One entrepreneur hopes to add an additional motivation for drinking it: “to make coffee a force for good.” Founded in 2012, Stephen Rapoport’s Pact Coffee has a mission to do exactly that. “We all have objectives and goals. A mission is not what you’re trying to do, nor how you’re trying to do it. It’s why,” he explained to a room full of entrepreneurs at a recent Leap 100 breakfast hosted by Mishcon de Reya.
Pact Coffee is a coffee delivery service, which operates on a flexible subscription model. It trades directly with growers in countries like Brazil, Rwanda and Ethiopia. Pact imports the produce, roasts it, and delivers it to customers.
Rapoport didn’t work out his mission until 12 months after starting his firm, but “that mission is now written in two-foot high letters on the walls of our offices.” He was inspired to formulate it by the human rights abuses that impact unskilled labourers in the industry and wants everyone to switch to specialty growers, where demand for better quality coffee ensures a higher price and incentivises improved products.
Rapoport points to three ways that having a mission has helped him at Pact Coffee. First, marketing: “We’ve given customers a mission they can get behind... We found that our customer acquisition costs could drop, and our loyalty has massively increased.” Second, “internal research has shown us we attracted more talent because of our mission – 80 per cent of people who apply for jobs referenced the mission as a reason for applying.”
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