What if business didn’t just serve the financial bottom line, but was an opportunity to lead in solving social problems? Cozzee, a social business offering 100% of it’s profits selling coffee to worldwide causes (hence the name!) is one of the new businesses cropping up who believe that’s not only possible but necessary.
Pioneer banker and Nobel Prize winner Muhammed Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, the institution built on offering microcredit to poor people to help them change their lives, argues that this kind of social business model is exactly what we need now. “I believe that we can create a poverty-free world because poverty is not created by poor people. It has been created and sustained by the economic and social systems that we have designed for ourselves; the institutions and concepts that make up that system; the policies that we pursue.”
Cozzee’s founders are aiming to harness the power of the free market to solve the problems of poverty, hunger, and inequality. Profiled in Forbes in July, they decided coffee and causes went together because “consumers were asking for a much more engaging coffee experience. Consumers wanted better beans, more transparency with sourcing and more details about the people and communities actually producing the coffee.” Combined with the opportunity to choose a cause from a varied, but focused global menu, getting good coffee with a pedigree of integrity becomes even more attractive.
They note on their website: “Unlike other businesses that donate a portion of their profits to charity, we give all (that’s right, 100%) of the profits away. We address seven cause areas and partner with nonprofits that lead the way in tackling issues like the clean water crisis, sex and labor trafficking and homelessness.”
The model is by no means new, but it’s still a rarity in the corporate world. For similar models, we can consider the Wonderbag, a cloth slow-cooker designed to help African families, with each purchase including a free Wonderbag sent to an African woman. And who hasn’t seen Newman’s Own products in every American supermarket?
Cozzee is made up of a team of leaders that helps consumers lead change with their purchases. This is a great business model, with a broadening audience in first world nations. “At our core, we’re a team of individuals passionate about making positive change in the world. When we came together, it was obvious that there was a need for…well, for a lot of things. We wanted to create a way for people to make a collective impact every day without feeling overwhelmed. The answer, it turns out, was literally in our hands. We love coffee (the good stuff). So why not empower ourselves and others to make change with something we’re already doing?”