xethix: You once said, that the initiative about carbon neutral transported coffee to the world was drinking bad tasting coffee in Columbia, the home country of coffee. Did you feel from the beginning, that it is important to build up a responsibly und ethical correct company?
Jacqueline Arias: Ethics have always been paramount to me, in my previous career before starting my business, I was a journalist and the focus of my stories was to try and give people who don’t have a voice, a voice. So when I started my business, Republica Coffee, ethics were central to why we were going into business. I discovered Fairtrade and organics so ensured that every single coffee bean we purchase has organic and Fairtrade certification. And now Republica is the first food brand in Australia to be certified Carbon Neutral also.
Xethix: Do you think the more transparent and connected the world will be, the more a responsible und ethical correct behavoiur in business is important?
Jacqueline Arias: Not many companies or people can hide under unethical conduct any more, and the bigger the company is, the more likely their unethical behaviour will be scrutinised. We are now in a world where every person has access to mainstream communication via the internet or their mobile phone, and they can communicate in seconds to the whole world. Companies know this, so this has made corporate, business and government behaviour far more transparent.
Xethix: Critics may say that CSR is mainly a marketing aspect for companies. Do you think so?
Jacqueline Arias: 10 years ago not many people had heard of CSR, now every single big corporate business has a CSR department. That is a giant step forward when it comes to corporate and social behaviour, because it means companies take it serious and invest money in getting this right. There will always be those who will jump into CSR not for the right reasons, but instead, to improve their image or simply to tick a box in a policy document. But at the end of the day, the public are sophisticated and knows who are the true players in CSR and who are not.
Xethix: Do you think a responsible und ethical correct behavior in business is the luxury of rich world countries or do you think this engagement is even alive in emerging markets?
Jacqueline Arias: Im not sure we can call it a luxury, taking responsibility is not a luxury, it’s actually changing behaviour for the greater good. Yes, we have the resources and knowledge and understanding that ethics are now part of daily business life. However, with the world changing so rapidly with the speed of technology, I don’t believe that emerging markets will remain in the dark about ethics for very long. Generation Y is the most socially aware generation, and they are also the biggest consumers of social media. Their way of thinking spreads across the globe and across markets. They are educating each other about what is right and what is wrong across the world at amazing speed.
Jacqueline Arias, Founder & Director, Republica