: international business with strong ethics

Interview of Thierry Cayot, vibrant founder of, online shop that offers all sorts of goodies for the house, from the smallest candle holder to huge teck cabinets. Thierry has a strong background of international import / export business. Like many managers in rich western countries, the root of his business model is find, buy, ship, and distribute. But Thierry's convictions go beyond the simple 'make money' paradigm. Anticipating forest management restrictions and fundamental social practise in South Asia, is keeping an eye on the whole manufacturing process, from reforestation to the furniture factory. TREEHUGGER : apart from quality and delivery, what do you guarantee to your clients ?

THIERRY C.: We take very care of the origin of the teak wood we use for producing our lines of furnitures. In that way we only buy wood to the Peruthany state organisation in Indonesia. The wood they provide comes exclusively from sustainable forest. Of course there is an underground market for illegal wood in Indonesia (like in most country that have forest) but we are sure of our source because the manager of our product unit is a 20 years old french friend and as involve as me in those considerations. Anyway it is a pity we cannot use a label such as FSC in Indonesia... We also have settled a private social security in our plant so that we can take care of employees that have urgent health problem.

TREEHUGGER : As an international trader, how do you reconcile marketing and ethics ?

THIERRY C. : We are used for years to conciliate business and personal ethics. fifteen years ago businesmen look at me scarly when I put at the end of invoices "children are not involved inthe manufactoring of those products". It is natural for us and it naturally serve our business! Firstable when you are in clear with your deep ideas you and your employees feel right and better in business and customer feel this! But nowadays it is a strong marketing strategy to put ethics ahead. It serve efficiently your policy regarding public relations, advertising for instance. Moreover it automatically shows a sane culture of our company. It helps to carry a good brand image of our company.

TREEHUGGER : is it really more expensive to be clean ?

THIERRY C. : Difficult to answer. Yes because it is more work more researches more costs and so on. But as it serve the global marketing of our company we have the return on investment...

TREEHUGGER : how did you come to be involved in ethics in business ?

THIERRY C. : It is a personal way of doing for years... I had the chance to grow in Brittany in front of the sea in an amazing savage land. In that way the respect of the nature (and so people) is natural for me.

TREEHUGGER : what projects have you in mind in terms of sustainable development / humanitarian ?

THIERRY C. : We have some huge projects but on the long range... I'll only tell you here about the dicussion we have these days with WWF in Indonesia : "we produce a furniture, we plant a tree". And with a tree you can produce 7 furnitures items in average.