Ah, coffee. Could you imagine life without it?
There’s been much publicity and discourse around the vessel we drink this beverage from when on-the-go (and the accompanying environmental impact they have), with less of a focus on the coffee beans themselves – so, let’s talk about that.
While coffee is one of the largest global commodities, with more than 2 billion cups consumed daily, the bitter truth is that at least 44% of the 12.5m smallholder coffee farmers globally live below the international poverty line ($3.20 per day, according to Enveritas). Another recent, alarming report from Fairtrade Ireland stated that up to half of the land used to farm coffee globally may be unusable by 2050, due to adverse weather effects resulting from the climate crisis.
Clearly, we need to take action to protect the communities whose livelihoods depend on this industry.
The good news? There are several Irish coffee companies that are working to make coffee a more ethical and sustainable choice, here are three to try…
This Dublin 8 coffee roaster uses a business model of ‘conscious capitalism’ where profit is not its key driver. Since establishing in 2018, it donates 1% of all sales to Women’s Aid, another 1% to projects at coffee origins and a further 1% is shared among its staff. It prides itself on providing its staff with pay that exceeds the living wage and also supplying customers with delicious coffee. As a coffee roaster that is passionate about giving back, it also has a robust Zero Waste Coffee initiative for both wholesale and direct-to-consumer audiences which you can learn more about here. Imbibe offers online ordering, a subscription-based Coffee Club and is stocked at a number of Irish cafes including the vegetarian stalwart, Cornucopia on Dublin’s Wicklow Street.
A certified B-Corp that asks its customers to ‘Make Every Sip Count’, and promotes ‘FairChain’ coffee. This term aims to address inequality within the coffee industry by ensuring more revenue stays within producing countries. It says “Where once 47% of the value from your coffee would stay with coffee growers, in today’s industry just 15% goes back to the country of origin. Only 1-2% of the retail price returns to coffee farmers.” Transparency is key to Moyee, and it takes measurable steps to ensure radical impact within coffee farming communities primarily based in Ethiopia and Kenya. Its coffee is also shade-grown in forests which has a lower environmental footprint than traditional growing methods. Find out more at moyeecoffee.ie where you can order online, or subscribe to its Impact Coffee Club.
This speciality coffee roaster established in 2013 has a robust sustainability programme in place and some of its highlights include using the by-product ‘chaff’ from roasting with leftover grounds in fertiliser; having an appointed in-house sustainability officer, and its partnership with NGO Project Waterfall. It says “We donate €1 of every 250g box of Ethiopian coffee we sell, which will help to bring clean water to Ethiopian coffee growing communities”that grow its coffee. At its flagship coffee shop on Pearse St, Dublin 2 it also has a wide array of reusable cups for sale and offers a discount when ordering if you bring your own! Find out more at cloudpickercoffee.ie
We can only make more informed choices that are kinder to people and the planet if we are aware of, and understand the nuances involved in the production of global goods and services.
A simple way to make a more sustainable lifestyle swap is by choosing to champion a coffee brand that is committed to delivering positive impact – let’s raise a cup to that!