Updated: Oct 13
Not1Bean is a small brand going against the grain of a huge global industry that ships millions of tonnes of its product unnecessarily back and forth over the oceans, resulting in massive carbon emissions.
The product is so familiar you may even have it in hand as you read this: coffee.
Not1Bean’s new partnership with We Don’t Have Time is rolling out over the next several months –through their Climate Dialogue page, a live event series and truly climate-friendly coffee.
“Very few people have any idea of what’s actually happening, and coffee is one of the most actively traded commodities on the planet,” said Not1Bean’s chief executive, Gary Golden, in a recent interview with We Don’t Have Time.
“Ninety percent of commercial coffee beans globally are shipped unprocessed, as unroasted, green beans. Those green beans are up to 20 percent heavier than roasted beans,” said Gary, “and the cargo ships criss-cross the globe with hundreds of thousands of tonnes of those beans in each load.”
“Not one of the coffee certifying bodies take this reshipping or the millions of unnecessary road journeys into account”, says Gary Golden, Chief Executive of Not1Bean.
“The ships travel from, say, South America to one country in Europe, where nothing happens to the beans except the price of them goes up another notch, and then this can happen again and again, until the beans finally get shipped to the country where they’re roasted. Finally, they get packaged, then shipped out again, on uncountable numbers of road journeys until a roaster has maximised his or her profits.”
Gary explained that even coffee labeled as sustainable or climate-friendly has often gone through this same process.
"A lot of the farms use modern-day slavery – child labor – to stay in operation”
“Value isn't really generated in coffee production until the roasting stage, and after roasting the profits are enormous,” he said. “But as the price goes up each time, the farmers themselves make little to nothing from it. The profit is for the larger companies up the supply chain. Meanwhile the coffee farms are in poverty regions, and a lot of the farms use modern-day slavery – child labor – to stay in operation and keep their coffee beans at the low price the big companies want to pay.”
“We are the only company in this vast sector championing what is an obvious and simple solution to a hugely damaging problem,” said Gary. “Not one of the coffee certifying bodies take this reshipping or the millions of unnecessary road journeys into account, and as for calculating net-zero emissions, they've never been considered.”
Not1Bean’s assurance to buyers is that every coffee bean they sell has been roasted in the country where it was farmed. This ensures the farmers and local roasters reap the main profit, with the revenue staying in-country while mitigating climate change and other endemic social problems at the source.
“Removing this vital income and then sending a fraction back is the very opposite of a sustainable business model,” commented Gary.
Roasted beans are much lighter for shipment, reducing the carbon footprint significantly. After roasting in the country of production, the beans are shipped directly to the country of consumption, eliminating needless hundreds to thousands of miles of cargo travel along the way.
“So we roast once, then ship directly to the retailer or the wholesaler. Because we take out a huge part of the supply chain, there’s no price impact for the end consumer. And in some instances, Not1Bean coffee is far cheaper than other brands,” said Gary.
”Coffee just isn't growing the way it used to on lower slopes”
Not1Bean has also committed to planting a coffee tree for every kilo of coffee they sell, and donating those trees to farmers who need to plant at higher altitudes. Gary explained, “As a result of climate change, coffee just isn't growing the way it used to on lower slopes, so the lower altitudes don't yield coffee in the same volume anymore.”
“Given the pathetic prices other coffee supply companies pay for their green coffee rather than paying for the end product as we do, farming communities don't have the resources to plant new crops and then wait three to four years for results. The truth is most of them can't even feed themselves or educate their children, meaning that climate change mitigation is way out of reach.”
Through their new Climate Dialogue platform, Not1Bean is raising awareness about these big problems inherent to the global coffee industry.
They’re engaging coffee retailers, wholesalers, environmental organizations and more around this issue, posting Climate Ideas, Climate Love and Climate Warnings to help businesses and consumers make truly climate-friendly choices when it comes to coffee.
Coming soon is all-new Not1Bean coffee packaging featuring their We Don’t Have Time Open for Climate Dialogue™ certification, which will be available for direct purchase at www.not1bean.com/shop.
Also, Not1Bean and We Don’t Have Time will soon begin co-hosting a monthly series of “Coffee Club” online events, during which business, advocacy and individual climate action-takers will share their knowledge and insights to make way for stronger, more efficient, more immediate climate solutions.
Written by: Lisa M. Baily http://www.lisambailey.com/
For: We Don't Have Time - wedonthavetime.org