What is sustainable coffee?

When we hear the word ‘sustainability’ most of us nod our heads and think ‘gee whizz that’s swell’ and it is, but what does it really mean? And how does it impact the coffee world if we don’t support sustainable practices? Let’s dig!

Sustainability defined

According to the UN Bruntland Commission: “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Basically, make sure to replace whatever you use so that it’s in tip top shape for the future! Sounds like common sense to me but it’s not always the easiest, cheapest way to go about growing things. It’s much easier to bulldoze rainforests and use chemicals but, in the long run, devastating for both the planet and people.

Sustainable coffee practices

The coffee industry has an ethical responsibility to look after the earth that gives them the awesome coffee plant and the people that work so hard to grown, harvest, process and roast the coffee we love so much. But how? Well there’s a few crucial steps to ensuring our coffee is sustainable:

  • Renewable resources – sustainability means re-using as many resources as you can ie using coffee husks to fuel fires instead of precious trees or turning coffee pulp or grounds into compost.
  • Minimise pollution – farms need to protect waterways and land from becoming polluted by using organic fertilisers etc and disposing of any unusable refuse responsibly.
  • Education for farmers – it’s vital for all coffee farmers to understand the importance of sustainability in their farming practices.
  • Wages/working conditions – looking after workers is just as important as looking after the environment. If you have the right people working hard, then ensure they are treated well, paid fairly and they’ll stick around for a long time.
  • Low carbon footprint – limiting transport is another way to look after our environment. Our Neighbours Blend is a prime example of this as it sources beans from our closest, you guessed it, neighbours, reducing its carbon footprint.
  • Biodegradable cups – it’s simple but effective. Using biodegradable cups makes a huge difference to the amount of rubbish ending up in landfill. Instead of making more rubbish there’s some smart companies out there like Bio Pak who have turned takeaway coffee cups into a renewable resource – compost!

Here at Sacred Grounds we also limit the amount of plastic we use in our office and delivery boxes as well. Instead we often use the hessian coffee bags instead of bubble wrap and if we have an excess, we donate them to a local recycler.

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