Running a sustainable and ethical business with Lisa Lawson
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Running a sustainable and ethical business with Lisa Lawson

Discover the mindsets and practices needed to run an ethical business that treats suppliers, customers and employees fairly with Lisa Lawson, the founder of Dear Green Coffee Roasters and the Glasgow Coffee Festival. You’ll also learn about the value of classifications like Fair Trade and organic and the benefits of sustainable practices that minimise environmental impact.

Top tips and takeaways

  1. Running a values-driven business has to come from the top – if you don’t live your values and lead the way, your employees won’t follow suit.
  2. Classifications like Fair Trade and organic aren’t a way for you to avoid responsibility for the origin of your coffee. Do your research and make sure the suppliers you buy from are ethical and treat their workers fairly.
  3. Your employees are your biggest asset – so treat them that way by paying them well and giving them time off. The more human a manager you are, the more human your organisation will become and that will come across in all aspects of your business.
  4. Being part of a community is one of the best ways to get inspiration to be better and improve your business. It’s also a great way to make friends and develop working relationships with other people in your industry.

Show Notes

[02:57] Lisa tells the story of how she got into coffee

[06:07] How Lisa’s early employment experiences influenced her attitude towards her own staff

[08:30] The practical elements of being an ethical employer from contracts to fair pay

[11:00] How Lisa sources her coffee and her experiences of origin trips in Central America and Africa

[13:05] The pros and cons of certifications like organic, fair trade and rainforest alliance

[16:48] How Lisa communicates the values and ethics of her company to her customers

[18:40] How to make your coffee business environmentally sustainable

[21:56] The balance between ethical business practices and running a profitable company

[23:20] How Lisa set up the Glasgow coffee festival and the evolution of the specialty coffee scene in Scotland

[27:38] The value of community for inspiration and motivation

[29:36] Lisa’s current coffee habits and her heroes in the world of coffee