This has become a particularly hot topic in the media. A huge focus has been put on coffee shops in particular in relation to disposable cups, so I’m delving deeper into it and my thoughts on the subject. There are so many angles to this my brain needs to unload - lucky readers, if there are any! :)
I personally think it is a shame that it takes so much media attention for people to be aware. A lot of the issues are common sense. We are a materialistic world and we are so deep in it that it is near impossible to escape the mess we have created. True reality - we have already ruined it. But that can't stop us fighting the cause.
Before Coopers even became a reality, thought went into the sustainability of various aspects. But it would also have to align with quality and a major part - business sense. Many decisions have been taken at the detriment of initial financial gain. We went into this more to create a space that people could really cherish and feel comfortable in, but of course it is a business and to survive it needs to make money. This has been a sticking point. Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing!?! There are areas we have overspent but on the other hand we would not be the place we are with out the thought process behind the actions.
In regards to the coffee industry and other cafes, I know we are relatively unique, unfortunately this impacts on cost and therefore has to be passed on to customers but we are at that point. So much exposure has shed upon our throwaway culture that many people now understand and appreciate the reality. The more we all work on this the better economically, socially and environmentally. Here are many of the things we do at Coopers that others are now catching on to but it is taking time!
Milk… I have bought so many different milks from Dairy Crest and Cravendale to other local farms. None have been close to quality of Laceys . I have gone into details on the product itself before so don’t want to keep repeating myself but the added costs really compliments our coffee and the Coopers brand. They really look after the cows wellbeing and absolutely live the golden life.
Talking farms we also use Timpson’s smallholding which is local as well. Also a fantastic small and local business.
Other ways we aim to be sustainable is through having a water filter tap to fill our own bottles on site. Reducing plastic, packaging and transporting of water. Plus if people donate as suggested we will donate toward wateraid. An extremely worthy cause for those less fortunate.
Equally I made the decision to spend on Vegware takeaway packaging. It is all plant-based made from renewable, lower carbon or recycled materials, and can all be composted with food waste where accepted.
Tea - grown in the UK. A beautiful product that tastes amazing. Being UK it is as local as you would get with tea. Making it better for the environment as well as good for the UK economy. The more we all support one another the better.
Much of the furniture has also been made nearby or put together using reused material. The high rectangular pallet table had the first delivery of green coffee beans and the long one had part of the large roaster delivered on it.
And of course the coffee… obviously not grown in the UK, however through the great companies we work with - Falcon coffees, Schluter and a couple of others, we know the supply chain. They visit the farms and work closely with the farmers and community. They get fair prices (better than fair-trade) and the quality is always right up there. Plus there are often now additional positives such as the Ethiopian in our house blend from Falcon coffees giving back, by putting money from profits of particular coffees, such as the Rocko Mountain Yirgacheffe into the Girls Gotta Run Foundation. Supporting women and girls in education and sport in Ethiopia.
The coffee world is a huge sector for employment and economic sustainability for many countries. When successful they add greatly to communities without being detrimental to the environment. Being an evergreen shrub it is an important contributor to carbon sequestration, while effective in stabilising soils as well as supporting original bio-diversity in planted areas. While socially maintaining substantial rural employment it improves the standard of living and in turn the quality of coffee produced. As mentioned many companies also have additional positive impacts such as the GGRF previously mentioned.
Often a main area of concern is the water use, particularly in arid areas. Specialty coffee and its ability to push prices helps to in turn giving back more, therefore technology can be improved and provide solutions to reduce waste.
Now my take on sustainability and waste is a personal one. But thinking logically how can this world sustain us?! We proudce huge amounts of waste. It would be amazing to eradicate the waste we produce but how? Clothing, all packaging, transporting, peoples personal use of water, shopping habits, the list goes on. What side effects are there on ecosystems with huge and sudden fruit and veg growth taking over huge areas of land due to peoples changing eating habits?
We strive to be sustainable environmentally, economically and socially. We hire people with knowledge and passion and a sense of purpose. Pushing quality of coffee and everything alongside it. We work with others equally interested in the impact of our actions in order to improve the transparancy of supply chains and improve the world of coffee. Not everything can be fully sustainable and what we do unfortunately it won’t be enough, but its worth a try right? Hopefully others not on board will catch up soon.
This monologue is particularly apt given current affairs and links nicely with our recently launched reusable bamboo cups from ecoffee cups. Hopefully it will go some way to helping.
They will hopefully help team Coopers feel good as well as saving some money each coffee people buy when using them. Plus eyes peeled on social media for competitions…
Happy days, Over and out,
James & Cooper