You wouldn’t guess it from the quiet way he talks, but Edouard Rollet is a man on a mission. He’s the co-founder of Alter Eco, a small San Francisco-based company that works with tiny organic farms and co-ops around the world, importing their food here, all certified as fair trade. We came across Alter Eco through a friend, and ended up talking to Edouard in the small conference room of their funky Dogpatch office, surrounded by samples of Alter Eco’s food – Ghanaian chocolate, rooibos tea, Ethiopian coffee, Bolivian quinoa, Thai dark red jasmine rice, and other wonderful things. The office smells really, really good.
Why did you start Alter Eco in San Francisco?
In short, it’s the green capital of the world. It’s where most of the not-for profits and third-party certification organizations are, and most of the triple-bottom-line community. Also the city looks like it’s beginning to move from being a tech city to being more of a green economy city, and we wanted to be part of that.
We’re working with 42 co-ops in over 35 countries, and it helps to be accessible to them via the port. We can watch the container ships come in from the office, and that’s always fun.
There was a personal aspect; [co-founder] Mathieu and I are both from Europe, and we feel comfortable here. Also, the food...is important, as well as being able to get outdoors.
More from Edouard after the jump!