What is the purpose of a business? Why was it created and what are the reasons for its very being? This is a question that lies at the heart of any business in this age of inequality and climate chaos. Rather than just generate profit, how can businesses also serve the best interests of their community and the planet? The question is especially pressing for the coffee industry which has such a long and dark history of exploitation, as well as an energy intensive supply chain that stretches across the globe.
We’ve strived from the start to prove that the coffee community can work
towards positive change. We pioneered compostable coffee packaging in Scotland, plant trees in the Highlands to pay back our carbon debt and do our best to care for the people we work with. We also set up a Coffee Academy that works to support young people in our community into meaningful employment. In February this year we were thrilled to become a certified B-Corp.
Taking these steps has resulted in Glen Lyon Coffee being chosen as one of 25 commission members by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) to look into how purpose led businesses can foster a ‘prosperous, flourishing, and fair society’ both in Scotland and beyond. The commission includes businesses of all sizes and different ownership models in Scotland, education institutions, civic organisations and trade unions.
The resulting report, ‘Now is the time for purpose: Putting purpose at the heart of Scottish business’, published today sets out the case for purpose led businesses to lead the way in making a positive impact on ‘economic prosperity, social wellbeing and environmental sustainability.’ It includes the result of a survey that found that 65% of those questioned wanted business to ‘find profitable solutions to the problems of people and the planet.’
The survey also found that young people in particular are influenced by the values of the businesses that they choose to buy products and services from. The report goes on to argue that purpose led businesses are better at customer retention, retaining talent, attracting investment and boosting growth.
The Business Purpose Commission for Scotland Report makes key recommendations to the Scottish Government to help businesses focus on more than just the bottom line for their shareholders. These recommendations include:
- Producing a Tax Framework for Purposeful Business which incentivises purposeful business models and practices
- Amending company law to require businesses to report on their business purpose
- Making it easier for new and existing businesses to adopt purpose business
structures such as employee ownership
- Making business purpose a mandatory learning outcome in education and training
Together with all of our stakeholders, we hope to pioneer a fundamental
change in business culture and to help foster environment and community at the heart of the coffee industry.
You can read the full SCDI report here
We are thrilled that the Business Purpose Commission chose our roastery for a case study and you can view the video they made and an interview with Jamie here.