Ethical Bean Coffee: How a fair trade coffee roaster is using mobile to sell product – with co-founder Lloyd Bernhardt

This isn’t your typical mobile story.

Ethical Bean Coffee is a fair trade coffee roasting company in Vancouver that uses the latest in mobile technology to help with the marketing of their product as well as offer a glimpse into the way fair trade coffee is farmed and distributed.

I asked Lloyd Bernhardt, ex-tech junkie and current co-founder of Ethical Bean Coffee to come on to to show how his company has integrated mobile into their marketing plan and how doing this has impacted his brand.

This is a rare look into how a company that isn’t focused on mobile as a business “gets” mobile needs to be a part of their business.


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About Lloyd Bernhardt

Lloyd Bernhardt
Bernhardt is an innovator, business leader, philanthropist and an award-winning software developer. In 1988, he founded Motion Works, one of British Columbia’s first Apple Macintosh software development companies and at the age of 22 took the company public, and also worked for Apple in California. For his achievements, Bernhardt received numerous awards and recognitions including a spot in Business in Vancouver’s “Top 40 under 40.”

But in 1999 Bernhardt would take a trip that would alter his tech career. After he and his wife journeyed to Guatemala to adopt their daughter, a passion for the culture of the country, and a desire to better the lives of the farmers and families living and working in the coffee industry was ignited. The couple returned to Vancouver and in 2003 launched Ethical Bean Coffee.

As the second largest fairtrade certified, organic roaster in Canada the company sells it’s coffee nationally and has now entered international markets. Recently Ethical Bean received a nod from the queen of daytime TV, when it was featured in the 2010 holiday edition of Oprah’s Favorite Things.

Combining his passion for technology with his commitment to social responsibility, global awareness, and environmental accountability, Bernhardt developed an iPhone app that allows customers to follow their coffee’s journey from crop to cup. Each individual bag of coffee is marked with an unique QR code that can be scanned and gives consumers the opportunity to watch interviews with farmers, look up cupping notes and roast profiles, and Google Map each individual bag of beans down to the exact field they were grown in.

Besides building the Ethical Bean Coffee brand Bernhardt is on the board of Compassion Fruit society, a registered Canadian charity that is building a sustainable village for abandoned children and a climate change institute near Tecpan, Guatemala. Further to this, Ethical Bean is planning to build a roastery near the village that will provide financial support to the village, better jobs, education and the ability for Guatemalans to benefit directly by providing value added jobs.

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About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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