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Dean Cycon

From Beans to Green: How Business Can Work to Help the Planet

Can a business be a positive force for social good and still be successful? Join pioneering social entrepreneur/lawyer/author Dean Cycon in this eye-opening journey through the world of socially responsible business.  Cycon created Dean’s Beans in 1993 to prove that business can promote positive economic, social and environmental change and still be profitable.  In partnership with local coffee growers, his company designs and funds innovative people-centered projects that address development challenges identified by coffee communities.  Drawing on over thirty years of activism in indigenous communities, Dean will discuss how businesses can participate in meaningful improvement in the lives of the people and our planet – while still being successful. He will also examine inflated claims of some businesses and describe marketing tricks and other obfuscation sometime used by companies to maximize profits while sounding green and sustainable. 

Dean Cycon has worked on international development projects, helped form farmer cooperatives, advocated for and advised indigenous peoples on mining, treaty rights and other challenges and built a successful organic, fair trade coffee company, commonly referred to as fair trade. Cycon is the Founder and CEO of Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company, and  co-founder of Coffee Kids (non-profit development group), and of Cooperative Coffees, the world’s first fair trade roaster’s cooperative. He has over thirty years of development work and activism for indigenous communities in Asia, Africa and Latin America.  Dean has been a Woods Hole Research Fellow, Ella Baker Social Justice Fellow, Senior Fulbright Scholar, and a Yale Law School Visiting Fellow.   He won 2013 Oslo Business for Peace Award (“Nobel Prize for Business”), and 2015 Fifty Top Social Innovators Award.