It’s the most popular way to start the day, with more than 2 billion cups consumed daily around the world. But is your coffee ethically produced, packaged, and sold for a fair price?
Unlike the basic items on your shopping list – like bread and milk – coffee consumption remains luxury, meaning that we can and should be particularly careful about the coffee we choose. But with so many competing brands in the Organic Coffee and Fairtrade Coffee market, how can we know that the coffee we are buying is truly ethical? Here’s what to look for.
#1 Fairtrade, Fair Prices, and Scrupulously Sourced Coffee
Coffee markets are dominated by cheap supermarket brands which tend to have the worst reputation for exploiting coffee farmers. Even labels like Direct Trade don’t guarantee ethical conditions and widespread unethical practices such as modern slavery and child labour continue to operate on farms and throughout the supply chain. Choosing a more expensive speciality coffee doesn’t automatically erase these issues, but it does increase he likelihood that you are dealing with an ethically-minded company. Apostle Coffee source entirely organic coffee, selecting Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee wherever possible. We only partner with suppliers who pay fair prices to the coffee farmers (often paying above Fairtrade rates), and have full traceability from bean to cup.
#2 Shade Grown Coffee Beans
The significance of coffee being Shade Grown is greater than you would think. Where mass production of coffee beans takes place for giant corporations, large areas are typically cleared of all other plant and animal life in order to intensively cultivate the coffee crop. By contrast, Shade Grown Beans have been grown under the existing canopy of trees and generally labels making this claim also go further, banning the use of chemical pesticides and demanding Fairtrade wages for farmers. This Guardian article remains a good summary of the various coffee accreditation labels and their value.
#3 Compostable Coffee Packaging
Industrial recycling is a myth. From dumping waste in foreign landfill sites to local councils burning household waste and recyclable materials in huge incinerators, there’s no knowing what really happens to your coffee jars and pods once they are placed in the recycling bin. At Apostle Coffee however, we are committed to a Zero Landfill policy which is why our packaging is 100% Compostable, designed to biodegrade in your compost bin at home or to be placed in your green council bin.
#4 Green Coffee Beans and Green Fingers
At Apostle Coffee we believe in rewilding nature one tree at a time. We never outsource our commitment to the environment; instead, we’re planting endangered trees ourselves, right here in the U.K., actively helping to regenerate U.K. wildlife and habitats. Unfortunately, many companies claiming to do the same in fact farm out their ethical claims to major organisations like One Tree Planted and 1% for the Planet. Here at Apostle Coffee, we love the work these major eco initiatives, but when it comes to our green credentials, we prefer to roll up our sleeves and get our own hands muddy! Check out our Instagram for the latest snaps of us planting trees and roasting coffee by hand.