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Thursday, June 27, 2013

A New, Caffeinated Nobel Peace Prize?

“It was on the date of my daughter’s graduation. I thought, Nobel Prize? College Graduation? Obviously, I’m going to my daughter’s graduation,” proclaimed  fair trade coffee distributor/wholesaler Dean Cycon on Springfield, Massachusetts  ABC Channel 40 on June 26.  According to news anchor Shannon Hegge, Cycon had just netted the Nobel Peace Prize for Business (an assertion which Cycon did nothing to dispel).
What the founder and owner of Dean’s Beans in Orange, Massachusetts had in fact won was one of five 2013 Oslo Business for Peace Awards from the Business for Peace Foundation (BPF).  The honor, which celebrates business-worthy contributions that build trust, stability and peace, catches rays from the Nobel halo via the BPF's  Oslo digs and its judges, all of whom have won Nobel Prizes in peace or economics. But the Business for Peace Award is avowedly not a Nobel Prize. (Even though in some parts, including the Deans Beans web site, you might see it in quotes as the “Nobel Prize for Business.”) Might Dean and his daughter have skipped her graduation for the real thing? Perhaps as a graduation present?

None of this is to dis the foundation or Dean’s Beans, the latter which does admirable work on behalf of local growers, sustainability, and international fair trade.  But virtuous ends don’t justify hypercaffeineated spin-lust, especially by a local business hero. That’s why my friend's explanation (he's a marketing professor) is such a comfort: “Dean must be around coffee a lot; it’s a drug, you know,” he remarks.

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