Planting coffee seeds of social welfare and environmental protection.
Enterprise/business philosophy and objectives of the founder
Founder of Okogreen, Wen Yen Hsu, was exposed to the concept of fair trade while studying. When he returned to Taiwan, he saw how small farmers were subject to intermediate traders because they were unable to afford marketing and distribution costs, and how this made their expenses disproportionate to their income. Okogreen sought to find a way out for Taiwanese agriculture by researching emerging agricultural movements around the world, before finally deciding to bring fair trade to Taiwan. Integrating the ideas of social justice and environmental conservation as its starting point, he set up Okogreen with partner Karen Yu in 2007.
History of development/business model
Okogreen’s revenue comes from its café and coffee beans wholesale. In recent years, it has also introduced other fair trade commodities, such as cocoa, rooibos tea, coconut oil, etc. In addition, Okogreen has also targeted private enterprises in promoting a “Fair Trade Tea Room”, which not only provides a “health check-up service” for coffee machines, but also helps adjust the specific machines used by different companies, teaching them proper methods of use so that employees can drink good coffee in the workplace. Through this service, Okogreen can also encourage people to order its own fair trade coffee beans.
Creating social value/mitigating social problems
Okogreen has engaged deeply with school campuses and enterprises, carrying out promotional lectures, guiding enterprises in obtaining fair trade certification, and helping them develop fair trade products. It has partners throughout the world, including in Indonesia, Palestine, Ethiopia and Peru, and has influenced 35 producer organisations. In addition to its 24 cooperating channel distributors around Taiwan, customers in Taiwan can now also buy Okogreen’s fair trade products at supermarket chains and health stores. So far, Okogreen has already spent up to US $750,000 in community development funds, which is the equivalent of building 8 wells in Africa or 10 primary schools in India.