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30 March 2011

Coffee with clout

Coffee with clout

Ethical coffee selling is nothing new these days, but Christian company Ethical Addictions are bringing something genuinely different to the table. Providing cafes, conference centres and cathedrals with excellent quality gourmet fair trade coffee, the company's ethos brings real ethical clout to boot.

Based in Gloucester, Ian Meredith and Dave Keeper set up the business in 2006. 

Both previously living on the west coast of Canada, often known as the coffee capital of the world, Ian and Dave were able to enjoy good ethical coffee easily. Not so when they returned home.

"When we came back we found that we were either drinking fair trade coffee and suffering the quality or buying good coffee and not knowing where it came from," says Ian.

With a desire to find excellent coffee that didn't have the bitter aftertaste of less than scrupulous origins, Ian and Dave set out to find their own coffee supply.

Ethical Addictions is born
"We wanted to do something about it so tracked down a farmer in Tanzania and bought a bit for ourselves to use. We realised there might be something in this so bought ½ tonne to test it," says Ian. "It sold in a couple of months! It was from that that Ethical Addictions was born."

So what makes them different from ethical coffee makers? By sticking to ethical values, principles of justice and being transparent about the prices the company pay suppliers, Ian says he can run a successful business and stay close to the values he feels are important.

"Justice means you pay what the growers deserve. Doing the right thing in your business but also staying competitive in your prices. We tick the boxes of both quality and ethics."

Working with communities
Ethical Addictions also fund work with the communities in Tanzania and Brazil that the coffee derives from, meaning profits and benefits for people come full circle. The company recently installed hydro electric power supplies and wood burning stoves.

"We give back every time we buy - our desire is that for every tonne of coffee we get to directly contribute to the lives of the farmers and their families," says Ian. "Paying a fair price means that we can plough back profits into their communities."

Around 90% of the company's trade is business to business providing hotels, conference centres, shops, churches and cafes. Inspired by their faith, Ethical Addictions also believe that a Christian business should be run in a way that honours God.

Says Ian: "When we set up the business it was all about 'from the farm to the cup' ethos. We wanted to run a business that honours God and in the most profitable way. Whether you are a doctor, a nurse or a coffee company owner, you should do your best."

Ethical Addictions sell coffee and coffee making equipment, for more visit their website

For other ways to be ethical during Lent like booting out your carbon excess see aid agency Tearfund's Carbon Fast