Are the Sustainable Development Goals something that coffee roasters should prioritize?

A plan to guide global growth and sustainable development through 2030 was presented by the UN General Assembly in 2015.


Agenda 2030 is a set of 17 interconnected “sustainable development goals” meant to address issues ranging from gender inequality to poverty. “Peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future” is its main goal.


The 2030 Agenda calls for participation from all UN member nations in order to achieve the goals. However, this also applies to organizations and, to a certain extent, people within such states.


The UN Sustainable Development Goals (commonly known as SDGs) must be adopted by coffee roasters if they hope to maintain their long-term client loyalty. A recent survey by Deloitte indicated that a third of consumers have stopped purchasing from a company due to ethical or sustainability-related concerns, which brought this to light.


But what precisely are the SDGs of the UN? And what practical applications can coffee roasters find for them? I had a conversation with Bonnie van Poortvliet, the creator of Gosling Coffee, to learn more.


Why should coffee roasters give the UN’s SDGs top priority?

Millions of people around the world, from smallholder farmers to café owners, depend on coffee for their livelihood.


However, it is far from ideal, just like any other worldwide industry. There are a lot of ingrained problems at every level, from unfair pay to the ongoing effects of climate change.


Early in 2020, the Covid-19 epidemic only made these issues worse. It had an impact on both demand and the efficiency of vital export infrastructure, including ports and warehouses.


Nearly half of all new coffee product launches in 2020 included an ethical or environmental claim, although few of those claims were supported by data. As a result, “greenwashing” accusations have been leveled against brands, whereby they pretend to support a cause in order to win over customers.


Bonnie is the owner of the Amsterdam-based, profit-for-purpose roastery Gosling Coffee. She founded the roastery with a clear goal in mindto give coffee farmers a livable wage and a perspective for both the present and the future. She began her career as a barista and trainer.


She claims that she first became aware of the true scope of the difficulties facing coffee producers when she began traveling to the origin to purchase green coffee.



Which SDGs ought coffee roasters to prioritize?

Every coffee roaster would strive to accomplish all 17 SDGs in an ideal world. However, having too many objectives just results in a wish list. Additionally, there is a chance that companies will become too dispersed to make a significant difference.


But how can you decide which to concentrate on?


Coffee roasters, according to Bonnie, should “take some time to dig into the meaning of these development goals” and focus on the objectives they can actually accomplish.


In light of this, the following objectives are some of the most important for coffee businesses:


Goal number 14: Submerged existence


The critical SDG of “Life below water” calls for the preservation of the oceans, seas, and marine resources.


Its goal is to “prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, particularly from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution”.


Making the changeover from plastic coffee packaging to a more environmentally friendly substitute is one approach for roasters to achieve this goal. The majority of plastic packaging ends up in landfills or the ocean, despite the fact that some of it can be recycled. Here, it disintegrates into microplastics, which can then enter the food chain through marine life.


Roasters may support a circular economy without contaminating the planet’s waters by choosing an environmentally friendly choice like kraft paper or rice paper coffee bags. In a commercial facility, these materials breakdown into non-toxic chemicals within 90 days, making them some of the world’s simplest recyclable materials.


One of a company’s most noticeable components, packaging frequently serves as the first point of contact with customers. This implies that roasters can publicly demonstrate their commitment to sustainability by switching to compostable coffee bags.


Goal number 12: Responsible production and consumption


“Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns” is the twelfth SDG.


An estimated 381 million tonnes of plastic garbage, including coffee packaging, are produced annually. Only 9% of this amount is thought to be recycled, with the remainder either ending up in landfills or our oceans.


For this objective, it’s crucial to take other aspects of your organization into account in addition to converting to sustainable packaging alternatives, such as how you handle garbage. If they are not adequately managed, the byproducts of roasting coffee, including as smoke and chaff, can have a detrimental effect on the environment.


Instead, search for ways to reuse waste, such as turning chaff into fertilizer or biofuel, or to lessen their impact. A good alternative is Bellwether’s electric-powered coffee roasters, which emit up to 90% less carbon per cycle than a conventional roaster.


Goal number 5: Gender equality


Incredibly, women account approximately 70% of the labor force in the manufacture of coffee, according to an ICO report. However, approximately 2030% of coffee farms are run by women.


According to the research, “women consistently have less access than men to resources, such as land, credit, and information.”


Roasters may advance gender equality and support women’s empowerment by supporting businesses run by women.


A UK roaster named Girls Who Grind Coffee has made advancing this objective the core of their enterprise. They support programs that educate and train women at the source while only purchasing from coffee plantations that employ women. Their efforts ensure that female producers have a voice and receive the accolades they merit.


Goal number 8: Decent employment and economic expansion


The eighth SDG seeks to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all”.


One of the objectives that Gosling Coffee has focused a lot of attention on is this one. Over the past few years, they have seen genuine, observable gains by engaging directly with the farmers and paying fair rates.


Bonnie claims that in addition to bringing farmers greater riches, it also gives them the means to test out various growing and processing methods. Higher revenues may result from this in turn.


She argues that when farmers are paid a price that is truly fair, they are free to experiment with developing unique flavor notes like vanilla. They can also experiment with various farming techniques that will boost production or enhance the quality of their crop.


The UN SDGs provide a framework for economic growth that is responsible and sustainable without compromising the needs of future generations. They can not only benefit the environment in the long run, but they can also assist companies in demonstrating a commitment to lessening their environmental impact.


At Cyan Pak, we provide a variety of environmentally friendly packaging choices that support a number of the SDGs. Customization is possible on our compostable, biodegradable, and recyclable bags using low-VOC water-based inks. Our extra features, including degassing valves and resealable zippers, are also entirely recyclable.


Post time: Aug-29-2023