Counter Culture Coffee Releases 2012 Sustainability And Direct Trade Transparency Reports

New York, NY – Counter Culture Coffee – the cult coffee roaster based in Durham, NC – has released its annual Sustainability Report and Direct Trade Transparency Report, two markers used to measure their progress towards sustainability. Forming the basis of their core values and pragmatic model of environmental, social, and fiscal sustainability, Counter Culture works to develop deep partnerships with the producers who cultivate their coffees. Orchestrated by Counter Culture’s Sustainability Manager Kim Elena Bullock Ionescu, the company’s annual reports showcase its commitment to organic agriculture and supplier relationships.
The Sustainability Report is an indicator of environmental, social, and fiscal sustainability. Measures include promoting healthy coffee farms and farming environments, reducing landfill waste and energy consumption, building strong supplier relationships, supporting communities and enhancing employee appreciation and customer relationships. Here are a few highlights from the 2012 report:
Environmental Sustainability:

  • 2% reduction in paper use from 2011
  • 8% reduction in electricity use from 2011
  • 18% Reduction in transportation footprint from 2010
  • 83% of coffee purchased from Certified Organic Farms (up 3% from 2011)

Social Sustainability:

  • 58% of coffee purchases Counter Culture Direct Trade Certified (up 8% from 2011)
  • $22,500 allocated to community and quality development projects at origin (up $1,400 from 2011)
  • $61,569 dollars and in-kind donations to community organizations in the U.S. (up $940 from 2011)
  • $3,761 distributed through the Employee Green Fund
  • 94% of Customers “Very Satisfied” with Counter Culture (up 14% from 2011)
  • 21 Organic Agriculture Educational Workshops Hosted
  • 32 Growers Trained in Composting in Africa – funded by Revenue from Counter Culture’s Holiday Blend
  • 138 Petition Signatures (Petitioners agreed to demand organic coffee; choose milk and food from small, organic farms; learn about organic agriculture in their community; compost coffee and food waste; and support pro-organic legislation)

Fiscal Sustainability:

  • $76,158 distributed through profit sharing program (up $12,980 from 2011)

Here’s more information on some of Counter Culture’s sustainability programs:

  • SEEDS (Sustaining Educational and Environmental Development at Source) – developed to support Counter Culture’s supply chain partners. Since January 2011, the company has funded roughly one project every 3 months by earmarking a penny per pound of coffee they purchase. Projects have included agricultural training programs, research projects, and a food security initiative, among others. This year, Counter Culture dedicated $22,500 to community and quality development projects at origin.
  • In 2011, Counter Culture’s Sustainability Committee introduced the Employee Green Fund, which offers each employee the opportunity to apply for up to $500 per year in matching funds toward a personal sustainability-related project. Projects have included gym memberships, a rainwater garden irrigation system, home fitness equipment, and more. This year, Counter Culture allocated $3,761 to the Green Fund.
  • In 2012, Counter Culture worked with Trees, Water, and People to offset their 2011 carbon footprint. The organization was connected to partners at the Café Organico Marcala (COMSA) cooperative of Marcala, Honduras, to build fuel-efficient stoves in the homes of coffee grower members. In all, 626 family members of COMSA producers in and around Marcala have benefited, and over the lifespan of the cook-stoves, 645 tons of CO2 will be avoided.
  • Save Our Soil is Counter Culture’s campaign to take action and encourage others to support organic and sustainable agriculture. In 2012, Counter Culture set up worm composting in six of their eight training centers using California redworms – the same worm employed by many of their coffee grower partners worldwide – to help turn food scraps and coffee waste into rich, nutritious compost for their gardens.

The Counter Culture Direct Trade Certification is a third-party certified (by Quality Certification Services), direct trade standard for sustainability, fairness, quality, and transparency in the coffee chain. The annual Transparency Report is a compilation of stories detailing Counter Culture’s farmer partner relationships around the globe. Through direct collaboration, Counter Culture works side-by-side with farmers to improve quality, encourage ecologically responsible cultivation methods, assess social practices and working conditions, and learn more about the cultures and people who produce great coffee. Transparency has been a tenet of Counter Culture’s Direct Trade Certification since the program was created in 2008, and the company has always been committed to sharing the prices paid for their coffees.
About Counter Culture
Founded in 1995, Counter Culture Coffee is the much-loved coffee roaster dedicated to finding and bringing to market the most exciting and delicious coffees in the world. The company’s vision is to pursue coffee perfection by creating partnerships dedicated to environmental, social, and fiscal sustainability throughout the coffee supply chain, improving the natural environment, and operating efficiently to minimize environmental impact. Counter Culture has eight training centers across the country including locations in New York, NY; Chicago, IL; Boston, MA; Washington, DC; Philadelphia, PA; Asheville, NC; Atlanta, GA; and Durham, NC. Served in some of the country’s top restaurants, Counter Culture Coffee is available in coffee shops, specialty grocers and online at

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