By: Ethisphere

After rounds of blind tastings at the United Nations by an international independent jury of top culinary and coffee experts, illycaffè, the global leader in high-quality coffee and a pioneer of large-scale, directly-traded coffee, announced that coffee beans grown by Honduras’s José Abelardo Díaz Enamorado were designated “Best of the Best” in the 2017 Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award.The top-scoring coffee lot was named from among 27 of the world’s best lots from the 2016/2017 harvests in nine countries, at a gala on October 16, attended by representatives of each grower and delegates from each nation.

The Ernesto llly International Coffee Award, named for illy’s visionary, second-generation leader, recognizes excellence in raising coffee of the highest quality through sustainable means. The award celebrates his company’s hand-in-hand work with farmers to realize its dream of offering the best coffee to the world. After the celebrations, Ethisphere had a chance to catch up with Andrea Illy, Chairman of illycaffè a five-time World’s Most Ethical Companies to discuss ethics, sustainability and its link to performance.

Here are some highlights from the interview:

  • Corporations are social institutions that can improve the quality of life in communities
  • A good culture of ethics can lead to long-term sustainable businesses
  • Ethics, sustainability, and performance are intertwined
  • Studies show sustainable investments reap high returns
  • Companies must remain consistent with producing high-quality products

Click below to listen to the full recording.



The Award is rooted in a program that illy established nearly three decades ago in Brazil, originally called Premio de Qualidade do Cafè para Espresso, that drove illy’s transformation to a company that today purchases nearly 100 percent of its coffee beans directly from producers able to meet its exacting quality standards, at a guaranteed premium over market prices averaging 30 percent. Today, illy stands as one of the world’s major purchasers of top-quality Arabica coffee directly from producers, whereby most coffee continues to be purchased on commodity markets, which can guarantee neither consistent quality nor a living wage to the coffee chain’s most important stakeholders: its 25 million families of growers.