Meet the Former Bachelor Pouring his Heart into Partnerships for Purpose
Welcome to Global Goals, Local Leaders, where we highlight innovative American businesses that are acting as local leaders to support and promote the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Company: Generous International
Sustainable Development Goal: #17 Partnerships for the Goals
On the International Day of Eradication of Poverty (recognized on October 17), the United Nations Associations-Denver Chapter will host an event at University of Colorado-Denver on “Social Responsibility in International Companies” with Ben Higgins from the ABC hit show, The Bachelor. Mr. Higgins will be presenting on his company Generous Coffee Co.
For this edition of Global Goals, Local Leaders, we asked Ben Higgins, President and Co-Founder at Generous International LLC, to tell us more about how his “for profit for purpose” enterprise takes action for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #17: Partnerships For the Goals.
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #17 is Partnership for the SDGs. How does Generous Movement strengthen and revitalize global partnerships for sustainable development?
Ben Higgins: Generous acts out of a belief that every decision should be made with the widespread goal of improving people’s lives across the globe. We desire to be efficient and effective with our actions. With this goal in mind, we invest our profits into organizations that work tirelessly to fight human injustice (roughly 13% of our revenue, which ends up being 100% of our profits, is directed towards these nonprofits and social causes).
We believe in people, and our ability to make life better for each other. We believe that people can do unstoppable things when they work together.
It is important for Generous to commit to people and organizations that we fully trust and believe in. We know that the best relationships are built on a common drive laced with honesty and effective communication. With this in mind, we want to make sure that as we tackle a subject as difficult and heavy as sustainable development, we work with others to make an impact.
How does Generous Movement advance their mission to strengthen and advance local communities through the power of partnership and entrepreneurship?
Ben Higgins: We started Generous with the conviction that a for-profit business model has the capacity to change the world. We believe in leveraging the freedom and privilege of capitalism to drive positive, sustainable change that can help communities rise from the ashes of social, emotional, physical, and spiritual poverty. This is cyclical change – change that can be modeled and repeated by communities around the world. One core area Generous invests its profits into is non-profit organizations.
Organizations who are focused on helping others create sustainable, scalable business models – like Humanity and Hope United. Jobs create income to meet the basic needs of life, but more importantly, we believe jobs create dignity, self-worth, and a hope for something better. We know this model works, because we have seen it work. We have seen communities start in darkness and move to a glimmer of hope. We start with relief from emotional poverty by showing them love, making them feel known, and assuring them they matter. Communities have been transformed as they begin to realize and understand their value and worth. Real change is provided through jobs. These jobs are created through micro businesses. As community members begin to work, they are able to send their kids to school and they can now afford electricity and clean water – an importance they are now learning. A community once destitute is now thriving through real, sustainable change.
How does Generous Movement support populations and communities around the world? Why did you choose coffee as the product?
Ben Higgins: First, we begin with impact in mind so we commit to investing at least 10% of revenue into community development before anything else happens. By supporting organizations that are committed to community development, we are hoping to be an engine that generates resources to help reduce the burden of fundraising, so these nonprofits and causes can focus on their mission. Our partners then focus on helping the people they serve live their life to the fullest by ensuring access to healthcare, education, job opportunities, clean water, and safe housing. We believe these should fall under the category of human rights, rather than one’s birth lottery. Accordingly, we fund and support these organizations through both financial gifts and materials gifts.
We chose coffee as our product because it is something a lot of people all over the world consume, and it seemed like the perfect fuel for a movement. We wanted to find a product that transcended culture and universally crossed borders. We think the Generous story is a movement and we didn’t want to restrict the movement because our product wasn’t widely consumed or accepted. It is important to note, we do not only sell coffee. We also sell apparel, leather goods, and adventure trips (to the locations we serve).
What should we be on the lookout for next as Generous Movement continues its work to enable companies to reach for sustainable development practices and seek reinvigorated global partnerships for Sustainable Development?
Ben Higgins: A key component of the Generous vision is the creation of a movement. We want to ignite a passion in others to use their platform of business for good, rather than greed. Our aim is for businesses to rise up and come together as a community in order to impact other communities. This is a working model that transcends culture. Communities we have been blessed to help transform are now desiring to help transform other impoverished areas. We believe this model will create a movement of Generous communities who come together, both as individuals and businesses, to fight injustice across the globe, starting first in their own community and spreading out to the ends of the earth.
We should look for a change in how people view for-profit business. You should start to see for-profit businesses dedicated and committed to also telling a story. By running a business in this way, our success is directly tied to our impact. Implemented well, you will begin to see Generous shops pop up all over the world. These shops will sell products, with stories attached to them. These shops will be a place for community and connection.