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Ethics in Business Award 2021

“Thanksgiving Coffee is a great company to work for” For as long as I can remember these words have reverberated through the Mendocino community. Rotary heard it too and Thanksgiving Coffee Company was awarded the Rotary District 5130 Ethics in Business Award for 2021.

The Rotary contacted us to say that we had been nominated by a member of the community. Shortly afterward a woman from the subcommittee called to verify and asked several questions based on Thanksgiving’s ethics and practices. They must have liked our answers and we went on for a final vote by the Blue Ribbon Panel made up of local businesses. In the end, we won the medium division (16-20 employees ) for the Northern California district that stretches from the Oregon border to Petaluma, CA.

Why did we win?

Based on the results gathered from 70 nominees who were asked about the mission, values, and the culture of their organization and the what and how of ethics in business, we were chosen as one of the lucky recipients. Watch our acceptance speech from the awards ceremony below!

The vision Thanksgiving Coffee holds is to support justice for our growers, our communities, and our environment. As an activist business, our work is to engage every coffee drinker on big social, economic, and environmental issues. Coffee is our medium. “Not Just a Cup, But a Just Cup” is our message.

Thanksgiving’s approach to ethics is justice, and to achieve justice you have to take action. For 5o years these actions have taken us down many roads.

As a certified B Corp we are in the company of over 4,000 businesses putting people and planet before profit.

The motivation to reach out from this tiny little coastal town and bring the big conversation of sustainability to the world came from our owners and their ethical leadership, here are a few highlights.

When the Fair Trade was formed, we were the second coffee company to certify and support the conscious consumerism, and shared value to eliminate poverty and enable sustainable development for farmers, workers, their families, and their communities around the world.

As president of the Specialty Coffee Association, our co-founder Paul Katzeff established the first “Environment Committee”, now called Sustainability Council.

The Unpaid Unrecognized Work of Women Project has given us insight into the economic justice needed for women farmers by giving more profits to improve the lives of their families.

The Clean Water Project helps to bring water filters into every home of the Namanyonyi Community of Shalom Interfaith Cooperative in Uganda. The filters are dual-purpose both helping to reduce the 50% death rate for children under the age of 5 from water-borne illnesses and curb deforestation from needing to boil water with wood fires. We are doing our part to change that.

Our Cause Coffee Program gives 20% for Good. The project began with the Song Bird Coffee supporting shade-grown coffee and has continued to evolve and grow over the past 23 years. To date, we have raised $500k.

The Bee Bold Alliance is working to restore biodiversity and local food security through pollinator protection by engaging youth, local businesses, and building infrastructure for pollinator sanctuaries.

“There is no doubt that the spirit of Thanksgiving has helped guide our business activities and ethics over the past 49 years. It is not a coincidence that we give back to producers and coffee growers some of the profits so that they may more fully benefit from their efforts. Living each day as we do, with Thanksgiving as part of our lives, has certainly given us “The Spirit”. So let the name of our company be accepted on its face value, and let the spirit of Thanksgiving be for each person to define for themselves.” Paul Katzeff, Co-founder of Thanksgiving Coffee Company.

We are grateful to Rotary District 5130 for honoring our business. Thank you for recognizing our work in the community and giving us the Ethics in Business Award for 2021.