Oh, coffee. Nectar of the gods. Giver of vim and vigour. Main reason to get up in the morning. For the true devotees, there can never be enough steaming cups of caffeinated goodness.
But with more than two billion cups of coffee drunk around the world each day, how can consumers and retailers lower each jolt’s carbon footprint? And what are we, the roasters, doing to future-proof our processes (and the planet)?
After all, coffee’s enormous popularity creates potential for food and packaging waste - a major problem facing the food and beverage industry as well as the environment. Not only does the UK waste 10 million tonnes of food and drink per year, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, but around 16 billion disposable coffee cups are used annually.
Thankfully, this needn’t leave a bitter taste in your mouth. As with most things, a few easy changes can make your cuppa much friendlier to the planet, so put the kettle on and drink in our simple swaps for more sustainable sipping.
How can you make your daily cup of joy more sustainable?
1. Be picky! When buying your next bag of coffee, check the pack for certifications. These certifications cover a number of important factors, including working conditions for farmers, support for communities where coffee is grown and making sure a fair price is paid for the coffee. 80% of the coffee we supply at Lincoln and York is certified either Fairtrade®, Rainforest Alliance™, OF&G Organic or UTZ – and we’re committed to increasing the amount of certified coffee we supply. Seek out certified coffee when buying to enjoy at home, or if you’re in the business, consider certification when developing and launching your coffee range.
We think this should be the benchmark for all coffee, and while certification can add cost, it’s also an opportunity to increase sales as consumers seek out ways to make more sustainable choices.
2. Ditch the disposable cups, as - from sourcing to disposal - each single-use container uses around 60g of carbon dioxide! If you’re a consumer, do the planet a favour and get yourself a reusable coffee cup, (which most outlets will be happy to fill). And if you’re in the trade, why not consider incentivising customers to bring their own cups with discounts or points cards?
3. Put the waste to work. Ground coffee beans are organic waste, so they’re absolutely fine to fling onto your compost heap. Of course, you’ll need to mix in plenty of other materials (the Royal Horticultural Society has a great guide) but what could be better than using your favourite cuppa to fertilise the garden?
Sustainability at Lincoln & York
We’re constantly working to improve the green credentials of everything we do, from sourcing and supply chain to production, packaging and retailing. It’s a huge subject, so for today, let’s focus on the factory-to-store stage.
To help reduce our business’ emissions, energy use and waste, we:
1. Reduce, reuse and recycle where possible at all stages of the roasting and manufacturing process. We use the minimum materials needed to keep our products sealed, safe and robust throughout the supply chain, and all the cardboard in our outer case packaging is recyclable. As for the rest, we offer innovative LDPE4 recyclable film across our range of packaging formats, which continues to win awards for its contributions toward a circular economy. We have also committed to remove all single use plastic from our business by 2024.
2. Give back to the earth. Aiming to be a carbon neutral business by 2024, we plan to plant 10,000 trees by 2025 and have been a zero waste to landfill site for several years. As well as that, 100% of the electricity we use is from renewable sources, and we’re focused on self-generating and reducing our impact wherever we can. We’re making big strides thanks to the solar panels and air source heat pump we’ve just installed at our new warehouse.
3. Emit less. As we work toward becoming a carbon neutral business, we’ve invested in highly efficient Brambati coffee roasters and plan to introduce an electric vehicle for local deliveries, along with electric charging points at the roastery for the whole L&Y team to use.
So is it really that easy to minimise our impact? As Ross Scofield, Lincoln and York Commercial Director, says, “It all boils down to making simple choices – what to consume, how and from which brands. Here at Lincoln & York, we take sustainability seriously, and will never stop seeking out and pioneering new ways to protect the planet, one bean at a time.”
There you have it. Armed with these key tips, you can continue to worship at the altar of the coffee cup, comfortable in the knowledge that you’re taking positive steps towards change.
For more information about how we’re championing sustainable coffee, click here.