To reduce the environmental impact of one of the world’s most popular beverages and to mitigate the effects of climate change, local coffee chains have been sourcing beans from farmers employing sustainable farming practices.
According to the company’s founder, Ambrose Peter Law, the Hong Kong-based coffee roastery and cafe chain Alchemy has been selecting producers who “are doing the right thing” for the environment.
“We believe that if we choose farmers who are doing the right thing for the environment, this will generate the right movement among farmers who are not yet doing the right thing,” Law said.
According to calculations by the Water Footprint Network, a standard cup of coffee, or 125ml, requires 132 litres of water. According to the Fairtrade Foundation in the United Kingdom, approximately 125 million people worldwide rely on coffee for a living.
The company obtains its coffee beans directly from the country of origin and visits local farmers. Alchemy obtains its Colombia Erazo blend from a farm that uses ninety percent less water than conventional processing techniques. The farm also reduces waste water pollution.
In Brazil, Alchemy obtains its Ferreira blend from a farmer who reserves a quarter of his farm, or approximately 34 hectares, for forest conservation, thereby contributing to the area’s biodiversity. While visiting the regions on sourcing trips and judging international competitions, Law met these producers.
“When we source our coffee, we want to know – and our customers want to know – that we’re supporting the right kind of people… not someone who is extremely disrespectful of the environment,” said Law. It is necessary to consider the environment and preserve what is already there.
Last month, Nescafe, the coffee brand of Swiss food conglomerate Nestle, unveiled a plan to invest more than one billion Swiss francs (US$990 million) by 2030 to encourage coffee farmers supplying it to use more sustainable farming methods. The brand intends to collaborate with farmers, suppliers, and partners to preserve agricultural land, boost biodiversity, and halt deforestation.
Nescafe stated last month that by 2025, all of its coffee will be responsibly sourced, meaning that it can be traced back to an identified farmer group and verified by independent organizations, up from 82% in 2021. It also desires that 20% of the land be farmed using regenerative techniques by 2025, and 50% by 2030.