Just Coffee Cooperative — Fantastic B Corps

Just Coffee Cooperative is far from being just another coffeehouse. Founded in 2001 by Matt Earley, the B Corporation was started alongside Zapatista coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico. Just Coffee Cooperative began selling coffee in 2002, as a worker-owned coffee roaster. Beyond the java, they’re passionate about their relationships with farmers and grower co-ops and creating a model of trade that is based on transparency, human dignity, and environmental sustainability. Read on to find out more about Matt and his Madison, WI-based B Corp.

matt_earleyHow our B Corp is shaking up the coffee industry: “Just Coffee Cooperative is a worker-owned coffee roaster dedicated to creating and expanding a model of trade based on transparency, human dignity and environmental sustainability. We build long-term relationships with small-scale coffee growers to bring you a truly incredible cup of coffee! We want to set the old school coffee business on its ear and replace it with one that truly works for everyone involved– from farmer to coffee drinker.”

The might of becoming B Corp certified: “I love that there is now a certification that measures all of the pieces of our mission and operations and can communicate to people that we are the real deal. Lots of certifications examine one piece (organic, fair trade, etc.) of what we do, but B Corp is comprehensive and does not only look at how we source a product, but how we behave as a business.”

The joy of working alongside our farmer partners: “Every time we visit farmer partners who we work with and they tell us we are making a difference in their lives, these are the biggest successes. To go to a farmer’s house and be greeted as a friend and welcomed in is the best affirmation of what we do. And when we can help farmers improve the way they farm, or help bring them to bring in fresh water, or assist them in diversifying out of a strict dependence on coffee farming, or help bring gender equity trainings to their communities — that is what it is all about.”

matt_earley_colombia“B The Change” through progress and emphasizing values, not perfection:We always aspire to operate with transparency and lead with our values. Everything we do reflects this approach. We are not close to perfect by any stretch, but we try hard to do the right thing at all times.”

If you want to become a B Corp…  “The audit can seem daunting the first time. Our audit took months and involved a lot of different people here having to put together info on things that we had never measured before or in ways we had not done before. It was sometimes frustrating, but was totally worth it. B Certification would not be what it is if it was not thorough and exhaustive. It is so worth your time.”

B Corporations are on their way to taking over the world: “I see B Corp certification, and Benefit Corporation legal organization, as the future of business. I think that within a decade it will be as well-known as ‘Fair Trade’ or ‘Organic.’ We live in a world where people want to make small positive contributions to people and the planet every day while still being themselves and B Certification can help them steer toward companies that ‘walk the walk.’

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About Matt Earley, Co-Founder, Just Coffee Cooperative

just_coffee_cooperative_logoMatt Earley is a co-founder of Just Coffee Cooperative– a wholesale, mission-based, coffee roasting company based in Madison, WI. Currently he is President of the co-op’s BoD, Farmer/Community Relations Director, Sustainability Director, and Brand Architect. When Matt is not visiting farmers somewhere down south in coffee country he can generally be found hanging out with his family or playing loud music with his band “Bent Antenna” or in his solo project “The Delicate Delegate.”