MyNorth News Service

(Press Release provided by Higher Grounds Coffee)

TRAVERSE CITY: Traverse City’s Higher Grounds Coffee, Michigan’s only fully organic, fair trade coffee company has joined nine other Michigan organizations as a Certified B Corporation, becoming the state’s only B Corp Certified coffee roaster. The certification is recognized by consumers around the world as a way to ensure the products they purchase are made by ethically-minded companies. Higher Grounds joins major international brands Patagonia, Ben and Jerry’s, Etsy, Seventh Generation, and many others as part of the B Corp community.

To become a Certified B Corporation, Higher Grounds was rigorously evaluated by B Lab, the nonprofit that certifies and supports B Corporations. B Lab determined that Higher Grounds met the standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency to qualify for certification. Now, unlike traditional companies, Higher Grounds is legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and environment.

Coinciding with the launch of their B Corp status, Higher Grounds is instituting a new program of paid volunteer service hours for its employees, further demonstrating its commitment to socially-responsible, community-minded practices as part of a sustainable business model.

“Higher Grounds was founded in order to support sustainable communities worldwide,” says owner Chris Treter. “We’ve always focused on doing business differently.” Higher Grounds co-founded a nonprofit, On the Ground, which coordinates projects in five countries, building schools in Ethiopia and potable water projects in Mexico, supporting gender equality in the Democratic Republic of Congo and food security in Nicaragua, and facilitating microloans for female entrepreneurs in Palestine.

Higher Grounds invests in the health, financial security, and community engagement of staff with a flexible wellness program, health savings accounts, and retirement plan options. The company delivers coffee by bike locally year-round (12.4 tons of coffee biked over 500 miles in 2015, offsetting a quarter ton of carbon emissions), uses recycled and recyclable products in-house, and composts spent coffee grounds.

In 2015, Higher Grounds’ line of seasonal coffee blends raised funds and awareness for area nonprofits Norte! Youth Cycling and Groundwork Center, with whom they partnered as a means to contribute to the construction of a more resilient community.

See the MyNorth Media video about Higher Grounds
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Photo(s) by Kris Riley