You’ve probably heard talk about carbon footprints, emission offsets and carbon neutral businesses, but what does that have to do with your morning cup of coffee?
Coffee. It’s what gets many of us going. It comforts, revives, and stimulates the mind. And for all the known good that it does, words like…carbon footprint, emission offsets, and carbon neutral may seem unfamiliar when speaking of java. Being a carbon neutral business is not only a critical step to reducing the negative impact global warming has on the world, it’s also a critical step for the survival of coffee itself.
What Are Carbon Emissions?
Carbon dioxide is just one of a few greenhouse gases that trap heat within the earth’s atmosphere. It’s produced naturally, and mother nature does a good job at keeping the natural production of carbon balanced. But among the greenhouse gases, carbon get’s a lot of attention due the amount created by unnatural human production and the burning of fossil fuels.
Too much carbon can set the world’s climate, and our way of life, off balance. We’re seeing the results of global warming every day. Nature is able to correct things to some degree, but we’re producing an overabundance of carbon, and the offsetting that nature provides is simply not enough.
We all play a part as individuals and organizations…this includes the places we visit, and the products we buy - including coffee. Each of us has a carbon footprint, or a total amount of greenhouse gases produced by energy used. According to The Nature Conservancy the United States ranks among the highest in the world for individual energy use.
As inhabitants of this planet, don’t you think we need to do our best to reduce our carbon footprint? A step in the right direction is being carbon neutral, which means the same amount of carbon emitted is also being removed, or offset.
But with climate neutrality, sometimes used interchangeably with carbon neutrality, we take things a step further by reducing all greenhouse gases at the same rate emitted, not just the carbon.
The bottom line is, we all want to do our part to take care of this planet. And knowing a little more about a very complex topic may give you the inspiration to actually do more. Ignoring it won’t make it go away, and talking through issues often leads to positive action.
How Climate Change Effects Coffee
Think climate change is a slow moving menace that doesn’t affect your current day to day life? You’d be surprised how much of an impact it could have on our morning cup of coffee. Over 60% of all coffee species are currently threatened by extinction, with the widely popular Arabica coffee bean having the highest risk.
This risk is a result of global warming, deforestation, disease and pests which all contribute to the extinction risks, affect the quality and production of the coffee, and ultimately causes coffee prices to rise. As so many of us enjoy our coffee daily, we all have a part to play if we’re to continue enjoying the coffee we love, let alone at a fair price.
Doing Our Part To Save Coffee With Carbon Neutrality
For us, making a positive impact on the world, producing great coffee, all while being climate and carbon neutral is why we get out of bed every day. But how do we do this? Well, nothing great comes easy. But we feel the planet is well worth it. Here’s where our mission starts at Smile Coffee Werks®:
The Manufacturing Process
One of the most important areas to focus on if we’re going to be carbon neutral is our manufacturing. After all, there’s energy used to produce, package and ship our coffee to the masses. To help reduce our footprint, our plant-based coffee pods are made in a German factory powered by wind, solar and hydro rather than fossil fuels. Our partners at ClimatePartner examine our sources, boxes, materials and labor used in packaging and shipping. They’re also tasked with verifying our carbon offset, and works with us on our investment planning for carbon offsetting projects.
Becoming Carbon Neutral Certified
What does it take to be carbon neutral certified? It’s a lot, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We work directly with our partners in determining energy used based on our total production and shipping, domestic and international. To offset the calculated amount of carbon produced, we invest in carbon reduction projects through ClimatePartner, just like our current forest protection project in Brazil. To ensure we cover our share, we invest above what’s necessary to offset our footprint, and each year we’ll invest more to account for any annual increases in energy consumption.
Our Offset Project
By partnering with ClimatePartner, we’re able to offset carbon emissions and give back to the Brazilian lands through this project here. Since our coffee comes from Brazil, it makes sense to invest back into the lands and the livelihoods of the people that produce our fine product.
Carbon Footprint - Just One Step On A Longer Journey To Preserving Coffee
Of course, offsetting our carbon footprint is only one small step on a much larger mission. We’ve also aligned ourselves with certifying agencies and partners that help us meet and maintain our coffee and pod production’s standards. For more information about our certifications, please check out our Certifications Page.
So, What Can You Do To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?
Take a quick look around, there’s a lot of small things that you can implement today. Reducing energy consumption around the house is an easy one, walking or biking instead of driving could also be an option in some cases. Here’s some tips to consider when you’re ready to take the next step:
- Have your household footprint audited, visit the EPA for more
- Reduce the amount of daily waste you create
- Reuse and repurpose what you can
- Recycle - at home and work
- Compost - find a commercial composter location near you
- Support offset initiatives to go Carbon Neutral
- Know your certifications - and get to know ours here
- Buy carbon neutral products like Smile Coffee Werks® coffee!