Sustainability for Today, and Tomorrow
This week I had the opportunity to speak with a group of investors about the Britt strategy. Our conversation comes as Grupo Britt is about to issue bonds on the Costa Rica Stock Exchange, after receiving the proper authorization from the Costa Rican Exchange Commission (Superintendencia General de Valores).
I explained how this company, which was created 25 years ago to sell the world’s finest gourmet coffees as a finished product from its country of origin, has since diversified by entering the world of gourmet chocolates, retailing specialty coffee online (www.cafebritt.com) and gift shops.
We’ve made mistakes along the way. We’ve gotten out of some activities and perfected our models for sustainable business. With a high dose of innovation our business thrives in many countries.
At Britt, we’ve created an organization that pursues environmental sustainability in every aspect of our entrepreneurial activities. We were pioneers in marketing Costa Rican Organic gourmet coffee. We’ve launched many initiatives to reduce our use of water and energy. Recycling programs are in effect at our facilities, and we’re always looking for ways to reduce waste from our production process. We are working toward becoming carbon neutral by 2014.
On the social side, our coworkers participate in many volunteer programs. We promote the development of a Fair Trade coffee program for local farmers and other suppliers by providing technical assistance and programs that encourage innovation and product improvement.
One such initiative has benefited a group of women in La Carpio, a community with social and economic challenges on the outskirts of San José. Britt has provided seed capital, equipment and training to get these women started making useful tote bags from recycled post-production Cafe Britt coffee packaging materials. The bags are on sale in our stores. Each includes a tag that describes the project’s history and how these bags are changing the lives of these heads of household.
On the financial side, we’ve created a competitive business, a model for a developing country, through innovation we have climbed towards the peak of the value ladder. We enter international markets guided by ethical corporate values. All our business activities in every country we operate, are enveloped in the character and culture of Britt. This is a seal of guarantee for our customers.
Britt will keep growing in proportion to our success in anticipating the needs of our customers. We live in a constantly changing world. Some raw materials, such as unroasted coffee, have doubled in price in international markets over the last nine months. The markets are volatile, but we know that tomorrow, you’ll receive the finest gourmet coffees, chocolates, nuts, cookies and personalized gourmet gifts developed and offered by people who go to great lengths to ensure that you are completely satisfied.
Britt will continue to grow as we make extra efforts to preserve and improve the quality and service that have enabled us to be where we are today.
All the best,
Pablo-Pablo Vargas, Feb 2011