Cafédirect share issue soars past £1 m mark

Cafédirect share issue soars past £1m mark


Tim West

Social Enterprise Magazine

March 2004



The highest-profile ‘ethical share issue’ yet for a social enterprise has already raised more than £lm, barely a month after opening.


Fairtrade pioneer Cafédirect launched its share issue to raise £5m on 2 February, in partnership with Triodos Bank As Social Enterprise went to press, the partners revealed it was one of the fastest-growing ethical share issues ever launched, with the majority of the money corning from private investors.


Cafédirect is the UK’s largest Fairtrade hot drinks company and owns what has become the country’s sixth-largest coffee brand. It has also developed Teadirect into one of the fastest-growing tea brands in the UK market.


Penny Newman, Cafédirect’s chief executive, said: ‘Now you can do more than buy the coffee, you can buy into Cafédirect itself. With an investment of as little as £300, you can help us shape a better future for millions of people – those who grow the products as well as those who drink them.’


Triodos Bank managing director Charles Middleton commented: ‘In our experience, hundreds of thousands of people realise that they don’t have to lose out financially when they follow their principles.’


Research shows the growth of ethical investment has soared in the last five years. EIRIS (Ethical Investment Research Service 2001) estimates the size of ethically screened funds in the UK stood at £4bn in 2001, compared to £1.5bn in 1997. Around 500,000 private individuals have already made ethical investments, compared to 137,000 just five years ago.


Cafédirect’s growth has emerged from the unique long-term relationships built over the past 12 years with over one million coffee, tea and cocoa producers and their families. The company always pays them above market rates. In the last year, Cafédirect reinvested 8% of its gross profits in tailor-made programmes to help its producer partners develop sustainable businesses.


Blanca Rosa Molina, president of Cecocafen, an umbrella organisation representing 1,200 Nicaraguan coffee farmers who supply Cafédirect, said: ‘We don’t want the consumer to try our product because we are poor, or because we have problems. We offer a high-quality product and we are a sustainable organisation. When we offer a high-quality product, we know that you will buy again, and knowing that is very important to us.’