Not many of us stare at our morning coffee and wonder what impact it has had on our environment. More often than not we’re slamming it down, or sitting and sipping it while thinking about our ever-growing to-do lists. But our coffee choices can make an impact on our world, the environment and the choices that coffee growers make. You see the more people who opt for sustainable coffee options, the more environmentally friendly the farmers will become – hopefully!
How to Make Sustainable Coffee Choices
There are a few things to consider when deciding on your coffee of choice…
As you would imagine, the more traditional the technique the better. When you add machines, chemical treatments and faster processing the environment starts to suffer, the carbon footprint grows and the sustainability of the land itself is in question. When we talk about traditional farming techniques we’re referring to shade grown crops – cultivated under the protection of one or two larger plants in a tropical forest. The bonus of this type of farming is the flavours borrowed from these plants seep into the coffee bean itself, creating intricate flavour notes.
In comparison, crops grown in the sun are exposed to more elements requiring more water, fertilisers and cause more erosion and lose a heck of a lot more nutrients than their shade-grown cousins. The plus side for farmers is they experience a higher yield but it’s the land, the waterways and even the consumers that suffer from the chemicals leaching into the coffee, water sources and into the soil.
Look for the Logo
It’s now so easy to identify a sustainable bean or cuppa in one glance thanks to the logos of reputable certifications bodies like Australian Certified Organic, Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance. Their processes are quite thorough and it generally takes years before a product can proudly display a sustainable logo so it really is one of the best ways to identify a trustworthy environmentally friendly coffee brand.
Australian Certified Organic’s logo is the famous ‘bud’ symbol. According to ACO, “The BUD represents everything that Australian organics is about – the growth and promise of spring, the sign of big things growing from the initial organic movement, and the strength and logic of nature and natural (biological and organic) systems in guiding our choices in life.”
Famous throughout the world, the Fairtrade logo is something that sticks in your mind but what does it represent? It “…symbolizes the relationship between consumers and campaigners, companies and traders, farmers and workers in a joint endeavour to improve lives and wellbeing through everyday shopping. The roundel incorporates a blue sky symbolizing optimism, green for growth and a raised arm for empowerment.” Fairtrade International.
This organisation uses the image of a frog because they are “… are indicator species, meaning that they are a symbol of environmental health…Our green frog certification seal indicates that a farm, forest, or tourism enterprise has been audited to meet standards that require environmental, social, and economic sustainability.” (Rainforest Alliance)
Thanks to these handy logos, you no longer have to be an environmental expert to discern between products with a large carbon footprint and a small. You just have to look for an image! Too easy. Even making small changes in the products we buy each week can make a huge impact on our world, not to mention our health. This is why we choose sustainable, organic and Fairtrade beans – to impact the world in a positive way and to produce high quality coffee that is healthy, free from nasties and tastes amazing!