Five Senses Founder Dean Gallagher explains why becoming B Corp Certified was a natural progression of its ethos to make positive global impacts in the quest for delicious coffee.
Five Senses has always shown a commitment to impacting people and the environment positively. Founder and Owner Dean Gallagher lived in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea in the late 1990s where he first saw the seasonal rhythms of coffee production at ground level. As the roastery was established and later expanded, Five Senses has built strong business and personal relationships with coffee growers and traders at origin.
An extension of Five Senses’ commitment to community is demonstrated in the roaster becoming B Corp Certified in April 2023.
“We’ve always known that we do good for our community, but becoming a B Corporation gave us a sense of internal validation. It was invaluable to authenticate the ways in which our systems and processes operate but also a great opportunity to highlight areas of improvement,” says Dean.
B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.
Businesses must demonstrate high social and environmental performance by achieving a B Impact Assessment score of 80 or above and passing a risk review. Five Senses’ overall B Impact Score was 101.7, putting the company in the top sector of B Corp Certified companies from around the world.
“This certification is one of our proudest. Using our business as a force for good has been independently verified and we’ve come out on top, being awarded for our high standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency,” Dean says.
The B Corp Impact Assessment investigates five impact areas of the business, including Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers. One of the reasons Five Senses has achieved such a high score, Dean says, it because the company established a ‘Busy B’ action group during COVID-19, a small group of internal staff engaged to conduct shifts in policy, system reviews, documentation, and procedural change.
“For three years our ‘Busy B’s’ met weekly, collecting proof of our charitable engagements, and identifying areas to reform. The business made changes to ratify our constitution, ensuring we make an overall positive impact on people, including society and the environment,” Dean says.
Five Senses also assessed all of its carbon emissions including power usage, freight, and waste disposal. It set targets and achieved some substantial reductions and then purchased offsets to become officially Carbon Neutral from April 2020.
Five Senses Coffee enjoys strong business and personal relationships with coffee growers and traders at origin. The roaster built a Tiga Raja coffee mill in the town of Permatang Purba, Sumatra in 2013, which is run by farmers in the region.
“The supply chain works independent of world market prices which provides huge benefits to the Tiga Raja mill and farmers and enables us to set our own market price for parchment purchase. Setting our own price encourages loyalty and enables us to engage farmers in a quality development program run by the mill, thus promoting sustainable practices for the benefit of the mill and the farmers,” says Dean.
To further highlight its commitment to operating ethically, the company also supports Streetsmart Australia’s annual initiative CafeSmart, which raises funds to support Australians affected by homelessness.
“Every year we’ve rallied our café partners to join this cause and donated coffee to each participating café, helping share the costs associated with the fundraising,” Dean says.
Dean says Five Senses stayed true to its ethos throughout the certification process.
“We weren’t doing anything new to achieve this certification, but actually identifying what we were doing and fitting it into the B Corp criteria was a really tough process,” he says.
Although Dean is thrilled to call Five Senses B Corp Certified, he says the certification doesn’t change the way he does business. It is simply “a snapshot of how Five Senses is currently doing business”.
“With or without B Corp, we will continue to operate in the same way. The certification allows us to speak confidently about our founding mission of ‘impacting people positively’ and continues to be the hallmark of what we’ve done every day since,” he says.
“Years of significant and thoughtful company changes, at considerable time and cost, have enabled us to achieve such a result. It is with deep satisfaction that we produce delicious coffee at such a worthy standard of social and environmental excellence.”
For more information, visit fivesenses.com.au