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Making the coffee industry more sustainable

…coffee to make you smile

Sustainable development meets the needs of today without compromising future generations. 

There is a growing demand for more traceable and transparent coffee. People want to know more about where coffee is grown, who produced it, and how much they were paid.

The global coffee industry, known for its rich flavours and diverse origins, also contributes to deforestation, biodiversity loss, and carbon emissions.

It is also a water-intensive industry. 

Sustainability is not just about the more efficient and environmentally friendly growing of coffee.

Globally, we consume about 173 million bags of coffee a year, which is over 10 million tons!

What about the workers?

Coffee production involves numerous intermediaries, including growers, processors, exporters, importers, roasters, distributors and retailers.

So, sustainability encompasses the working conditions of those involved.

Coffee farmworkers, including seasonal and migrant labourers, often face challenging working conditions, including long hours, inadequate pay, and lack of access to social benefits. Child labour is also a significant concern in some coffee-producing regions.

Sustainable coffee production not only benefits the environment but also supports the livelihood of coffee farmers, many of whom are smallholder farmers in developing countries. By adopting sustainable practices, coffee producers can enhance resilience to climate change, improve crop yields and access premium markets that value sustainability. 

The Circular economy

Circular Economy aims to minimise waste and make the most of resources. In the context of coffee, this means rethinking every stage of the coffee supply chain to reduce, reuse, and recycle materials and resources. Circular economy principles can be applied to coffee farming, processing, packaging, and distribution to reduce waste and environmental impact. 

In coffee production, this means:

  • Efficient water management with water-saving techniques. 
  • Organic Farming reduces the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers, minimising chemical waste. 
  • Sustainable harvesting by harvesting only ripe cherries to maximise yield and reduce waste. 
  • Precision agriculture by using data and technology to optimise farming practices, reducing resource consumption and waste. 

Reusing coffee by-products

This principle promotes the reuse of coffee byproducts that would otherwise be discarded. Coffee byproducts, such as coffee pulp, find several uses:

  • Composting coffee pulp can create nutrient-rich organic fertilisers, reducing the need for synthetic fertilisers and enriching soil health. 
  • Biomass Energy with coffee husks and pulp can provide a renewable energy source for coffee processing facilities. 
  • Animal feed with coffee pulp is used for livestock, minimising food waste and providing an additional source of income for coffee farmers. 

Recycling packaging products

This principle extends to coffee packaging, which involves a mix of materials like paper, plastic and metal. 

Design for recyclability where there is an encouragement to use packaging materials that are easily recyclable, such as paper-based packaging or reusable containers. 

Recycling programs where consumers can return used packaging for recycling or upcycling. 

Certifications

Certifications like Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance and Organic include criteria related to circular economy and regenerative agriculture practices. These certifications provide assurance to consumers that certain environmental and social standards are met. 

Christopher Montrose Coffee are proud to support Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance producers with our Fairtrade Brazil Coffee and El Salvador Monte Sion (Rainforest Alliance) coffees. Both available as beans or grounds.

Regenerative agriculture

This is an approach to farming that focuses on restoring and enhancing the health of the soil, ecosystem and community. In the coffee industry, regenerative agriculture entails practices that go beyond stability, actively working to improve the land and promote biodiversity.

Further reading: https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/11/sustainability-in-coffee-what-are-the-main-issues

CHRISTOPHER MONTROSE COFFEE
…coffee to make you smile
London. Paris. New York
+44 (0)20 3627 0969 [email protected]
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Registered in England and Wales with Company Number 9671758.
Reg’d Office: 8 Deben Mill Business Centre, Old Maltings Approach, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 1BL.

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