Fighting human trafficking with great coffee – with Bryn Frere-Smith

Interview - Bryn Frere-Smith - interview

It’s disappointing if an important cause is let down by a poor product. Bryn Frere-Smith’s coffee contributes to addressing terrible issues – but he’s emphatic it must taste amazing too.

Bryn is founder of Blue Bear Coffee which uses its profits and profile to support organisations fighting human trafficking and caring for survivors.

After leaving the Metropolitan Police he worked in ‘close protection’ for some of the richest people in the world. But he needed to find his purpose. This took him to 12 challenging months with the International Justice Mission, an organisation fighting modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

Here’s the podcast. Click the large arrow to play, or hover over the media player and click on the icon on the bottom right corner to download it. Or listen through SpotifyApple Podcasts or Google Podcasts if you prefer.

ADVISORY: This interview includes content about working with survivors of exploitation and abuse which some listeners may find distressing.


    • 0 – 1:00 Introduction
    • 1:00 Bryn’s background and why he left the Metropolitan Police Service
    • 2:15 Running Norfolk’s least successful security company then becoming a bodyguard ‘for the 0.1%’
    • 3:15 Feeling lost and looking for a purpose
    • 3:45 What is the International Justice Mission?
    • 4:22 Off to the Dominican Republic for a particularly difficult project investigating the sexual exploitation of children
    • 6:00 A six-year old girl’s horrifying experiences and her teddy-bear tale led Bryn to start a teddy-bear fund
    • 10:00 Keeping the momentum and launching Blue Bear, now two years old in September 2020
    • 12:00 Why coffee? Bryn wanted to demonstrate it was possible to run a coffee business which doesn’t exploit people
    • 15:07 How Blue Bear is sold
    • 16:30 Breaking the disparity between good cause and pants product
    • 17:45 A confession and the worst thing Blake could ever say to Heidi
    • 18:41 Heidi finds a solution
    • 19:34 Why and how Bryn plans to scale-up Blue Bear
    • 21:00 Other organisations addressing human slavery and trafficking
    • 22:11 How to buy Blue Bear coffee

Divider BarWe can’t all be charity workers supporting survivors of horrific exploitation. But we can contribute through every day purchases, and Bryn’s experience led ultimately to launching Blue Bear, the trading name of The Justice Business Community Interest Company.

Why coffee? It’s a product notorious for poor treatment of its supply chain. Blue Bear also works to support growers and farmers. Bryn explains how.

What next?

  • The International Justice Mission
  • Blue Bear Coffee
  • Bryn’s own Justice and Coffee podcast
  • Heidi’s new book shares everything she knows about impact measurement and management – and how to implement it in your organisation. Order your copy of Impact First – The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Measuring, Managing and Growing Your Impact. Please click here
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  • And if you are interested in being interviewed and are from an existing social enterprise creating a proven impact, please contact presenter Heidi Fisher at Make An Impact CIC