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Waking Up The World

Developing a Theory of Change for Kicking Horse Coffee’s sustainability and social impact programs.

Kicking Horse Coffee has been kicking ass for more than 25 years. The Canadian coffee brand has a long track record of conducting its business responsibly – sourcing directly from farmers, caring for their employees and respecting the environment. 

Recognizing that our lifestyle choices are causing climate change, loss of biodiversity and human suffering, stifling the well-being—indeed the survival—of people and the planet, Kicking Horse Coffee is committed to ‘waking up the world.’ This is a big ambition, and Kicking Horse Coffee needed the right tools to understand and plan the step-by-step changes required to realize their ambitious purpose.

The Challenge 

Theory of Change has long been considered an essential strategic tool in the non-profit sector. By connecting organizational activities explicitly to intended impacts, a well-crafted Theory of Change gives shape to strategy, ensuring ongoing attention to the community, sector, and system-level changes the organization seeks to make. 

Kicking Horse Coffee engaged Junxion to help them develop a Theory of Change and strategic recommendations to connect their overarching purpose to the company’s sustainability and social impact efforts. 

Part of the company had recently been acquired by Lavazza, and with a new CEO poised to assume leadership, the time was right for this work. 

How We Helped 

Junxion started by assessing ‘the lay of the land.’ We reviewed documents and past work, and interviewed leadership, employees, and stakeholders to understand the opportunities and challenges Kicking Horse Coffee faces. This was captured in a briefing paper that also suggested key metrics and measurement models to consider.

Next, we facilitated a pair of workshops to generate shared understanding of Kicking Horse Coffee’s purpose, values and strategic choices. Starting with the company’s outputs, the framing workshop looked both backward at their current work and forward to their intended impact. Following the workshop, we produced a draft Theory of Change. 

The second workshop refined and finalized Kicking Horse Coffee’s co-created Theory of Change. We also reviewed its existing sustainability and social impact efforts to see how well they aligned with the purpose and identified gaps where new activities were needed. 

Measuring Success 

The Theory of Change streamlines purposeful strategic planning and meaningful impact reporting, providing Kicking Horse with guidance on which questions to keep at the forefront of its next strategic planning process. It is a living document that will continue to evolve as data is gathered, lessons are learned and the internal and external context shifts. 

This project created space for impact champions across the business to have important discussions about the social and societal impact they want to achieve. It also established the foundations for an internal sustainability committee to lead on this work. 

Kicking Horse Coffee is now equipped with clear pathways to change, and aligned on the optimal contributions that it can make towards its bold ambition to ‘wake up the world.’

We have really enjoyed working with Junxion to formalize a useful tool that presents a good future path for the company.

– Cedric MalagaCEO, Kicking Horse Coffee Company
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