Earth Day has recently passed (April 22nd, 2019), a day that helps so many of us grow our awareness and understanding of our planet. People are naturally curious about these things but it’s fair to say that the importance of Earth Day has grown exponentially over the last few years. Perhaps it’s because we are now more aware than ever of the important role that the global climate plays on our species.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there, our oceans have become one of the hottest talking points of 2019, especially in relation to how we manage our waste and there have been many noble recycling causes established, with more popping up by the day. With so much information available now on climate change, recycling, and ethical consumption, we’ve developed our understanding of what we have seen first hand in our industry. It is obvious that like so many other industries, coffee has a vital role to play in our world’s future.
Coffee has a role to play in fighting climate change
Billions of cups of coffee are sold each day, in fact 63% of American adults alone drink coffee daily, according to the NCDT. The industry is growing by a healthy 5.5% worldwide each year according to Mordor Intelligence, which is exponential growth. In the UK, 2.5 billion coffee cups are used and thrown away each year.
We talked a bit about the enormous journey, the number of people and plethora processing steps that go into making a single cup of coffee in our last article about the life of a green coffee buyer. There are really countless opportunities where the industry can do more towards building a brighter future for future generations.
In most areas it’s pleasing to see that people and businesses are doing more. Packaging suppliers are trying to come up with more recyclable options quicker than ever, baristas are saving their spent coffee grounds for enriching soils in local gardens or farms, shipping companies are reducing their carbon footprint with new technologies. Even coffee farmers, many of whom are based in countries where disposable funds are not necessarily a given, are investing in revolutionising their growing processes. CIAT is one of many new organisations working with farmers and communities to improve sustainability and wellbeing in their regions.
With all of that in mind, we’ve been on the hunt for opportunities to improve our own processes and contribute better to other areas in the coffee journey. We may be a small company, but we also know how important it is to our staff and our customers that we commit to this. So, we were delighted when we learned about the opportunity to work with 1% For The Planet.
Say hello to 1% For The Planet
1% For The Planet has a simple mission, to help businesses and consumers learn how to be 1% better through everyday actions, events and commitments. It’s a pretty broad remit that touches just about every industry and niche, so the solution to achieving that mission must have been pretty ambitious when it first began.
In 2002, Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, founder of Blue Ribbon Flies, created 1% for the Planet. On its ambitious beginnings, Chouninard noted, “The intent of 1% for the Planet is to help fund these diverse environmental organizations so that collectively they can be a more powerful source in solving the world’s problems.”
Their approach was relatively simple, inspire businesses and individuals to support nonprofit organisations who can make a positive impact on the environment. After all, every business benefits from the Earth and its resources in some way. When businesses join their network, they commit to donating at least 1% of their gross sales to these charities and movements. Further still, they are linked with suitable partners who can best represent causes related to their field and their brand.
There are a wide array of solutions that businesses can commit to contributing to when they join, from fighting climate change to saving wildlife, and improving education in sustainable food production which was important to us at Modern Standard. Making the choice wasn’t easy at first as there are more than hundreds of different causes with thousands of non-profit partners, in 60 different countries to choose from.
One organisation, Food Forward, rescues 300,000 pounds of surplus produce each week, saving it from ending up in a landfill. 1% For The Planet’s network now has over 1500 business members contributing to these and similar organisations..
Working with 1% For The Planet and two amazing nonprofits
We were excited to join so many other great companies in teaming up and making the same commitment to support charities that are relevant to our processes and our brand. 1% For the Planet were so helpful in directing us towards making the right decision when choosing our non-profit partners. In the end, we opted to allocate our 1% to two important charities that we believe are directly linked to our business practices.
Coffee roasting requires energy, but the biggest environmental impact in our industry probably comes from the vehicles that transport the beans from the farms to our roastery, and onto our customers from there. When driving our delivering van around London on a hot day we can see first hand the effect we’re having on our local environment. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Trees For Cities.
They’re a nonprofit that’s committed to replenishing the plant life and cleaning the air in our busy cities in the UK. To date they have planted over a million trees in areas previously deprived of plantlife. They also work hard to educate adults and children about trees and healthy eating, with over 11,000 people already impacted by these programs. Check out their blog and you’ll find out all about their achievements, and even how you can make your garden bee-friendly. We can’t wait to get on our gardening gloves on and dig in to help this awesome charity soon!
SERES was the winner of the 2015 UNESCO-Japan Prize for Education for Sustainable Development. It is a nonprofit that cultivates and catalyzes youth leaders to create fair and sustainable communities in Central America.
Their goal is to empower young people to contribute to the enrichment of their communities, in many countries in this region where they are reliant upon the coffee economy. We’ve been to see the impact of similar programs in some of these coffee growing regions, so it was an easy choice for us to make in supporting this charity. We believe that education is the path to inspiring the future leaders of the coffee world and consumers like you and I are reliant upon it.
What’s even more inspiring to us is that SERES is a youth-led, women-led organisation with over 60% of its staff graduates of its own programs. These programs include educational courses, camps and communities that are built on developing leadership in young people to create pathways to a progressive and positive future.
If you’d like to learn more about our vision for our future social responsibility please do feel free to contact us. Better still, why not learn more about the charities mentioned above and get involved or donate. We all have an important role to play in positively impacting our planet’s future.