Coffee Commune: Making Social Impact with a Sustainable Business

Research output: Other contributionCase Studies


The case describes how Coffee Commune, a China-based social enterprise founded by a German entrepreneur named Eric Baden, had been trying to reach a balance between social impact and sustainable business. This teaching note is designed for a 45-to-60-minute teaching plan, where students could play the main protagonist, Eric Baden, and follow his journey with Coffee Commune since 2016. As a German citizen who had lived in China for more than two decades, Baden was passionate about helping the poor coffee farmers in mountainous Yunnan by improving and promoting their beans in China and abroad. Baden and his team, in this case, could lead the students through the decision-making processes in various challenging scenarios, such as why and how Coffee Commune needed its own unique value chain called "crop-to-cup", how to fit the value propositions into a sustainable business model, whether and how to attract outside investment for Coffee Commune's organic growth, and most essentially, how to maintain positive social impact while delivering viable financial goals to sustain this purpose.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2022

Case number


Case normative number


Case type

Field Case

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Published by

China Europe International Business School


  • Social Entreprensurship
  • social enterprise
  • social enterprises
  • social entrepreneurship
  • social venture
  • sustainable business

Case studies discipline

  • Social Enterprise
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Strategy

Case studies industry

  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
  • Accommodation & Food Services


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