Birds and Beans was conceived as an expression of our personal values. In founding Birds and Beans, David and I decided that we would buck the most powerful trend in the current culture – the one that dictates that we must maximize monetary return at the cost of everything else.
By contrast, we steadfastly defend the values of product quality, ecological sustainability and quality of life, despite a lower financial return. Yes, that’s right. We dare to put our values before money: we value our values! And it is a real financial investment.
Cheese and Dill Scone
*Flour, *Butter, *Sugar, Honey, *Yogurt, *Eggs, *Cream, *Cheese, *Dill, Baking Powder, Salt
* Organic Ingredients
We continuously strive to expand our understanding of the impact of human activity, and we use our choices to withdraw our support from those conventional processes that have monstrous consequences1. Instead, we throw our support behind processes and supply chains that are aligned with our values. Conventional suppliers may not miss our business, but alternate suppliers do feel our support!
We know that many of you look for meaningful opportunities to express your values, and we hope you will engage with us in our endeavor.
Our values express themselves in everything we do, including:
- Our commitment to offer certified Bird Friendly® coffee exclusively (What is Bird Friendly Coffee)
- Our commitment to the experience of the simple pleasures of incredible coffee and fresh, hand made food (Enjoying a Great Cup of Coffee)
- Our commitment to organic certification (Certified Organic Coffee is a Big Deal)
- Our commitment to NOT use any GMO ingredients (GMO Free Eats)
- Our shift to using almost all organic ingredients in our baking ( Hint: sometimes even organic production is not sustainable: Why we avoid Almonds at Birds and Beans)
- Our commitment to NO palm oil and palm oil derivatives in food, cleaners and personal products (Reflecting on 5 Years being Palm Oil Free)
- Our commitment to NO single-use plastic containers since 2012… did you know our straws and cold cups are biodegradable? (Water is free at Birds and Beans Café)
- Our commitment to NO factory farmed animal products (Our Sustainability Record)
- Our deep and ongoing engagement with the community .
- Our commitment to our co-workers through a generous employee ownership program.
We choose to operate a business that is mission based and we accept the enormous increase in complexity that this requires.
We reach out directly to our heroic growers who are on the front lines in defense of the remaining forests in coffee growing regions. We support them with prices that sustain them and their families. We form and nurture long term relationships with them. They are secure in future sales from us, and we depend on them for our ongoing supply of their meticulously tended coffees.
We celebrate our support of several dozen small suppliers and not of Costco, Sysco, or Gordon even though it results in a tremendous increase in complexity.
Instead of ordering from 1 or 2 suppliers who provide whatever is needed that week, we manage inventory levels from over 30 suppliers, each with different order cycles, balancing minimum order requirements with spoilage, and delivery charges with the cost of product. Each supplier maintains their specific payment and delivery terms. Each supplier has their own shortages, which are much more common from our suppliers than conventional suppliers, because each of them face similar difficulties as do we. All this requires a constant resource stream to monitor and manage.
We do this happily in support of our like-minded suppliers who need our support to maintain and strengthen their part in alternate supply chains. We offer them our support by accepting the inconvenience and complexity and by paying them higher prices.
We do most of our baking in-house from scratch because it is not possible to offer fresh, quality products that embodies our values any other way.
We teach our staff about our values, and we ask them to support them with their best efforts. We offer noticeably higher compensation than most foodservice employers. We meet or exceed all the standards set in Ontario’s Employee Standards Act. We are a team and sustainability must apply to all of us or it isn’t really sustainable, is it?
So that’s it. Could we make more money? Yes. We could drop any one of our commitments and make more money tomorrow. Would we even consider it? No. We are not trying to maximize profit. We are trying to maximize value… and we measure value with more than just money.
- Monstrous consequences like the appalling suffering inflicted upon factory farmed animals, the starvation of baby albatrosses whose parents see shiny plastic as fish, the burning of entire forest ecosystems in Indonesia to grow Palm so “big food” can have “cheap” oil.