Coffee Fuels Social Enterprise On Camano Island, WA

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(Photo courtesy of Camano Island Coffee Roasters)

'Persevere...remember that our job is to see the world as it will become - not always as it is.' - Jeff Ericson

An hour drive north of Seattle resides beautiful Camano Island, an island known for it's relaxing vibes and artistic influences by local creatives. It is also the home of Camano Island Coffee Roasters, a local coffee roaster committed to socially responsible business.

Jeff Ericson, Founder and President of Camano Island Coffee Roasters says he did not choose coffee, coffee chose him, because it is the second most publicly-traded commodity around the world. With coffee he is growing a social enterprise that directly and positively impacts farmers around the world.

CICR partners with Agros Foundation in Guatemala who's "goal is to invest in self-sustaining, resilient families and communities that are not dependent on external aid." CICR empowers 42 villages with over 24,000 farmers in Central America and Mexico. In the past 18 years Ericson and his team have worked diligently to help break the cycle of poverty there.

In addition CICR partners with World Vision where the focus is on economic empowerment, water and sanitation programs in Ethiopia, Honduras, and Guatemala. 

CICR is careful to purchase fresh green, ethically-grown coffee beans that are USDA Certified Organic and Shade-grown. USDA Certified Organic ensures safety from harmful pesticides and the numerous health and birth defects they inflict on the coffee farmers and their families. CICR offers 20 different varieties of coffee flavors to choose from.

"I am excited to now teach the social enterprise model worldwide...this is the language of the new generation of consumers...they do not just consume products - they are pro-active in buying products they believe in. This is not an isolated American habit - the future will be better as each country ties products to the solutions they hope to attain." - Jeff Ericson

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(Photo courtesy of Camano Island Coffee Roasters)

What has been your biggest challenge in starting your own company?

We started 18 years ago and club or recurring e-commerce wasn't trusted yet and social enterprise didn't even have a name...we have worked hard to build a model that instills trust...allows for customer customization... and encourages community...this all took time and effort - but eventually paid off.

What advice would you tell someone who was starting their own company, today? 

Persevere...remember that our job is to see the world as it will become - not always as it is.

Who is your biggest role model?

Definitely Muhammad Yunis - without him the cause of social business would have taken much longer.