Cafedirect boss hailed for her ethical business

Penny Newman praised for her coffee business

Penny Newman, chief executive of fairtrade tea and coffee retailer Cafedirect, has been identified as the most ethical entrepreneur in a poll of small businesses.

Venture Finance’s survey of small business owner/managers found that Newman has taken over as the mantle of inspirational business idol from Body Shop founder Dame Anita Roddick.

Newman headed the new generation of ethical entrepreneurs, with 36% of respondents hailing her as a positive influence. She was followed by Jorgen Philip-Sorensen, chairman of Ecover and Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, who both commanded 27% of the vote.

Unsurprisingly, Innocent Drinks featured on the list, with co-founders Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright coming fourth with 24%.

Ethical entrepreneurs, such as Roddick, have proved increasingly relevant role models for small business owners.

Not only have green issues become central to many business’ processes, stringent government regulations on waste management and the treatment of staff have made it cost-effective to run an ethical company.

Steve Websdale, director of Venture Finance, hailed the influence of well-known entrepreneurs on small businesses.

“Nowadays, many business owners have a desire to make a positive contribution to the world, or, at the very least, to ensure their business is sustainable as possible.

“Trailblazers like Penny Newman offer inspiration, and demonstrate that it is possible to be ethical and profitable.

“We would encourage others to take a leaf out of her book and set up the business they’ve always aspired to run.”

© Crimson Business Ltd 2006

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