Coffee’s sustainability credentials have been getting a bad rap, with widespread criticism of pods and capsules that end up in landfill, and of the 2.5 billion takeaway cups thrown out every year in the United Kingdom alone. Coffee companies are heeding consumer concern and taking steps to make sure your caffeine fix doesn’t break the environment.
Apr 18, 2018
The world's "most sustainable coffee pop-up" has arrived in London.
For UK Coffee Week, Percol has created a coffee pop-up in London’s Old Street station to showcase the many ways coffee consumption can be more sustainable. The shop only uses ethically sourced coffee and the grounds will be upcycled by Green Cup and turned into furniture. The pop-up is 100% plastic free, sells reusable coffee cups, has a cashless operating system and stores dairy products in recyclable pouches.
“We truly believe that everyone can make a difference just by making small changes to their daily coffee routines,” Niomi Hannon, marketing and product manager at Food Brands Group, tells JWT Intelligence. “Our pop-up is designed to inspire consumers to make these changes and to give them the right information to make informed decisions about the coffee they drink, from choosing certified beans to using a reusable cup.”
The price of each type of coffee sold in the pop-up reflects how sustainable it was to produce. Espressos are the cheapest option, due to their relatively small carbon footprint, while a latte is the most expensive beverage, largely because of its milk content. The shop also features a virtual reality station that takes customers to a coffee farm in the Antioquia region of Colombia to meet some of the young coffee farmers that Percol is supporting through its Next Generation Coffee project. This gives consumers a unique insight into sustainable farming methods and stories.
With 78% of consumers aged 18-24 willing to spend more on a product or service that is more ethical, according to a March 2018 survey by kNOW/Critical Mix, it’s inevitable that brands are baking social good into their offerings.
In February 2018, Patagonia launched the Patagonia Action Works microsite, which connects potential activists to local organizations. Users enter their postcode and can see a variety of local initiatives connected to social and environmental issues they are passionate about. The site then suggests volunteering opportunities in fields such as pollution, climate change, civil democracy and biodiversity.
Furniture retailer West Elm launched West Elm Local Experiences in March 2018. This series of workshops hosted by craftspeople in the United States includes a welding course in Austin and a natural indigo dyeing tutorial in New York, designed to draw attention to artisan businesses.
Consumers are increasingly seeking out products and services that champion social good and are many are willing to pay more for these credentials. According to a 2017 Unilever study, 33% of global consumers now choose to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good—an estimated $1.2-trillion opportunity for brands that make their sustainability credentials clear.
For more on sustainability, read our report The New Sustainability: Regeneration