Business as a force for good
We’re a certified B Corporation. B Corp is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. The B Impact Assessment evaluates how a company’s operations and business model impact their workers, community, environment, and customers. It interrogates everything from supply chains and input materials to charitable giving and employee benefits. It’s the gold standard of sustainability. Of a company balancing profit and purpose.
The process of getting B Corp certified was long and rigorous, but an important validation of who we are and what we do. It’s also a demonstration of intent. To not only continue to work in a responsible way, but continually striving to do better. The Impact Assessment is revisited every three years to ensure that it’s upheld. B Corp Certification also requires a legal commitment to considering stakeholder impact for the long term. It’s now built into our company’s legal structure.
By joining the global B Corp community we’re part of a new movement of businesses, agreeing to use what we do as a force for good. There are currently over 3,000 certified B Corporations in more than 50 countries. We’re in good company and we’re all fully accountable.
One of the cornerstones of our sustainable mission is our sourcing program. Fair pay for our producers underpins this program. We also work closely with them - or our importer partners - to ensure that their farming and processing is environmentally and socially sustainable. We’re often asked if our coffee is Fairtrade, as these principles all align with it. However, within speciality coffee, we need to go a step further than this in order to source the most exceptional coffee. To do this we need to work on a more granular approach, working with producers on small lots within farms, pioneering new territories in search of new speciality coffee and fostering relationships with producers to work on experimental crops and processing.
Within speciality coffee, this is termed Direct Trade. The challenge with this is the lack of certification or agreed standard across the board, as what Direct Trade means varies from roaster-to-roaster. However, to create a unified, single policy for Direct Trade sourcing is unrealistic. The way in which one single roaster direct trades themselves varies between countries of Origin, due to infrastructure, politics, production or trading in the country. Up until now, we’ve had to tell our stories and our customers have had to trust that when we say we pay fairly, we do. That when we say our producers behave sustainably, they do. This all changes with B Corp certification. We now have an independent certifier who has interrogated our supply chain and given us their stamp of approval. We see this as the future of UK speciality coffee. You can read more about this here.
As part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability and our B Corp certification, we're embarking on a new auditing program with our coffee producers and look forward to sharing these reports with you in 2021.
Over the past couple of years we’ve released Roastery environmental impact reports, compiled and written by our IEMA qualified sustainability officer. They’re a key part of our commitment to the highest levels of corporate responsibility. To triple bottom line sustainability. At home as well as in our sourcing practices.
Our inaugural 2018 report was a marker in the sand. It outlined our work energy consumption and emissions at that point - as well as data gathered from 2016 and 2017 - and the measures we intended to take to reduce these.
Earlier this year we published the annual follow up. It shares the steps we’ve taken, looks at our 2019 carbon footprint vs previous data, and lays out our next steps for continual improvement. As with the 2018 report, it isn’t exhaustive, but we’ll continue to build on it over time.
When selecting new packaging for our coffee, we don’t make our material choices lightly. Both coffee bag materials and capsules are quite challenging to navigate, but our decisions are made based on research and with the intent to reduce environmental impact. The following two articles expand on the choices behind our current packaging. We continue to research newly available materials and review our current packaging choices. It’s an ongoing process of responsibility.
But the materials themselves are just part of the picture. The end of life of our products is an important part of this. It’s our extended responsibility. That’s why we work with First Mile, a visionary recycling company, to make it easier for our customers to recycle our packaging where local household recycling isn’t available. First Mile sends our coffee bags to a specialist facility which uses Microwave Induced Pyrolysis to split the component parts of the bags for reuse.
We encourage customers to return their bags and capsules to us at The Roastery or to one of our coffee shops, if they live local to these. Same goes for take away cups, although we encourage use of reusable, offering a discount on drinks for those using them. We also work closely with HuskeeCup, an award-winning reusable cup company.
As you would expect, all of our outer packaging is produced using FCS certified card and fully recyclable as are our tasting cards.
We are committed to being a living wage employer something which, unfortunately, isn’t common enough within the hospitality industry. In addition to pay, we encourage and support careers in coffee, with comprehensive Speciality Coffee Association training offered to our baristas and coffee team. As with all other areas of the business, our sustainability mission means we are committed to continually improving our approach to our people and ensuring inclusivity, diversity and wellbeing are at the forefront of our agenda.