Andy+ is a social enterprise startup based in Montreal. The concept is simple. They sell travel mugs that reduce waste created by un-recyclable styrofoam and waxed paper cups served in coffee shops. Then 10% of the sales help develop education in the underdeveloped rural coffee communities of Latin America. By using Andy+ you’re sharing the message and growing a movement for our planet and society.
Andy+ will be using the first 500 mugs to commit to education in Latin America. With the help of their first two partners, Cup For Education and Pueblo a Pueblo, they will be giving back 10% of sales to benefit a Literacy Program in Guatemala. The current efforts will aid the La Cumbre School Library project. This support will help keep the library open during the afternoons and possibly transform it into a community library. Additional resources will also enable support of fellow rural schools located in remote towns where access to school supplies and books is difficult.
1. When someone asks you what your company is, how do you explain it to them?
I’ve definitely refined how I go about explaining who and what Andy+ is. I talk less about who we strive to be and our mission, and talk more about who we are in the present moment.
Basically I say that our company is here to:
- Keep your coffee warm
- Help reduce the overwhelming amount of waste created by un-recyclable Styrofoam and waxed paper cups (over 25 billion in North America)
- Help develop education in the poor rural coffee communities of Latin America.
I often go on to explain that even the richer countries of Central and South America (Costa Rica for example) have a hard time supplying educational materials to the coffee communities because they are so far out in the country. Lack of access to resources and lack of healthy wages lead to underdeveloped educational situations.
2. What has been the most exciting thing about starting your social enterprise?
By far the most amazing part of this adventure has been meeting all these different people who have amazing ideas and businesses to help shape the world of tomorrow. I had no idea how growing the social business scene was and how many brands are already making big differences in their industry. I’ve been inspired by many of them and they really make want to achieve more with Andy+.
In the same vein, I was pleasantly surprise that a lot of people in the coffee world know their industry’s downfall and are working to improve it. For example, many high-end roasters work hard to learn about the financial, economical and environmental impact of their trade. They study their supply chain, get to personally know everyone evolved and work hard to create long-term mutual beneficial relationships. Being proud of their coffee they roast goes way above taste.
3. What is the greatest struggle you face running a social enterprise?
To be honest, I feel they are mostly only advantages to being a social enterprise. You often have a story to tell out of the box. You don’t have to create marketing mumble jumbo as your mission is already telling enough. You get to be proud of the work you accomplish and people are proud to work alongside of you.
The only “downfall” I can try to see is that people holding you up to higher standards. If part of our supply chain ends up being unethical, or not as environmentally friendly as the customers hoped, they will be quick to point the finger. Whereas a company that doesn’t pride itself on a social aspect, people ignore most of its wrong doing because they don’t even try to be better. That being said, I think it’s fine that people hold us up to a higher standard. It shows that they care and they don’t want just another company claiming itself to be social if they aren’t ready to put in the work.
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