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Capitalism as an Engine for Social Change?

puravidalogo.gifThe Belmont Center for Business Ethics presents John Sage, CEO, President and Co-Founder of Pura Vida Coffee, for a discussion of ethics in business, Wednesday, Sept. 28. The event is open to the public and media. Members of the Nashville business community are especially encouraged to attend and hear Sage discuss a unique approach to integrating capitalism as an agent for compassion, and ‘funding agent’ to support social outcomes.


Sage’s talk is titled Tough Minded and Tender Hearted: Capitalism as an Engine for Social Change. He will speak at 5 p.m., following a 4:30 p.m. reception. The location for the Center for Ethics event is the Curb Event Center.
Sage is co-founder of Pura Vida Coffee, which is 100 percent owned by a nonprofit, religious organization dedicated to helping at-risk children and families in coffee-growing countries. Pura Vida sells Fair Trade, organic coffee throughout the United States and uses its resources for charitable purposes. The co-founders have created a model with the goal to inspire a new generation of consumers and business leaders who believe in and will practice capitalism as an engine for social good. The management team strives to utilize every facet of Pura Vida Coffee – capital structure, governance, employee recruitment, product sourcing, marketing and sales – to achieve social outcomes. They believe they can demonstrate that the worlds of business and charity can not only co-exist, but can thrive on one another.
Sage and Pura Vida co-founder Chris Dearnley met in 1987 at Harvard Business School. Believing that the principles of capitalism could be applied to the non-profit sector, they developed Pura Vida Coffee as a “funding engine” to support the charitable programs of Pura Vida Partners, a non-profit organization. Pura Vida Coffee sells Fair Trade, organic coffee throughout the United States and uses all of its resources for charitable purposes. Through this model, our co-founders sought to bring hope to at-risk children in Costa Rica – where Pura Vida’s charitable activity began – and to inspire a new generation of consumers and business leaders who believe that capitalism can be used as an engine for social good.
“By utilizing every facet of our company – capital structure, governance, employee recruitment, product sourcing, marketing and sales – to achieve social outcomes, we can demonstrate that the worlds of business and charity can not only co-exist, but can thrive on one another,” Sage says.
The September 28 Center for Ethics program is funded by the James M. Medlin Speaker Series in Business Ethics, and there is no registration fee. James Medlin was a highly successful real estate developer who served on Belmont’s Board of Trustees for twelve years. In the business world, he was recognized as a man who stood tall, believing and practicing high moral and ethical standards of conduct in all business relationships.
Dr. Harry Hollis, professor of management, is director of the Center for Business Ethics. For more information about this event, please contact Dr. Hollis at 460-6834, or call the University Marketing and Communications office at 460-6646.