Coffee is in crisis. Here's what we're doing.
Over 2 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day. Coffee is the world's sixth largest carbon impact food and millions of coffee farmers earn less than their cost of production on a pound of coffee. We've built a different supply chain from the ground up, starting with considering farmer profitability in how we pay for our coffee, and working to reduce the environmental footprint of our vertical operations. Scroll down to learn more. We update this page regularly.
Transparency And Relationships
Paying more for coffee
Our average FOB* price to date is $2.62/LB USD. The past five year average commercial price for a pound of coffee is $1.19/LB USD. How does our price compare to Fair Trade? Fair Trade certified coffees guarantees a price/lb of $1.40 USD FOB. This number is only relative to what the average farmer in a given co-op will earn above their fixed and variable farming costs, and does not necessarily indicate a sustainable price.
*FOB means "Free on Board", and refers to the final "seller" of coffee before our coffee leaves the export country. Often times the FOB income is earned by an exporter, a producer, or a producer group/co-op (We see all types of structures across our several supply chains). It is important to note price is only one indicator of equitable economics between supply chain actors. An FOB price does not = the price paid to farmer. According to a study conducted by Fair Trade USA and Cornell University, “The Cost of Financially Sustainable Coffee Production in Latin America”, cost of production for a ~1.6 - 5.3 hectare farm ranged from $0.88 USD to $1.75 USD per pound, which means that coffee producers can still earn less than their operating costs, even in a Fair Trade certified supply chain. This is what our industry refers to as "Farmgate" price. We are conducting ongoing research and pricing discovery in able to better report on price transmission for every LB of coffee that we source and sell. Stay tuned.
Reducing Our Environmental Impact
The activities required to produce and commercialize coffee create carbon emissions of a very high intensity. Most of these negative impacts occur in the final phases of coffee's lifecycle (roasting, distributing, retailing, consuming). We have an enormous opportunity to improve the efficiency of our operations being a roaster/retailer, and here are some initiatives we've committed to across our supply chain:
Sourcing, cultivation, processing: > 30% of our past 32 coffees came from Organic certified co-ops > For the past 40 coffees contracted, 73% have donated proceeds ($0.02 cents/LB) to World Coffee Research whose mission is to create a toolbox of coffee varieties, genetic resources and accompanying technologies and to disseminate them strategically and collaboratively in producing countries to alleviate constraints to the supply chain of high quality coffee. Roasting packaging, shipping and distribution: > Roasting our coffee with an afterburner. Coffee roasters emit various pollutants including methane, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. Since we established our roasting facility we've seen great improvements to roasting technology, and look forward to implementing more energy efficient equipment into our roastery when we inevitably expand our operations. > Donating our experimental and waste roasted coffee on a recurring basis to these community organizations: Moisson Montreal, Native Women's Shelter or Mile End Mission. > Choosing biodegradable packaging material for our retail coffee bags, see our manufacturing partners here. > Packaging our café coffee for service in reusable buckets instead of disposable 5LB bags > We have two zero emission shipment options in Montreal for our online orders - Bike courier delivery with local courrier partners Chasseurs Courrier, and Pick-Up in Store Retail operations: > Composting coffee grinds and food waste at 2/3 of our Montreal café locations to reduce
landfill contributions > Incentivizing our customers to bring reusable mugs
by offering a $0.25 c discount > Working with local food suppliers for our pastry and dairy in order to maintain a shorter supply lifecycle
Dispatch is a social enterprise. In our company, impact management is an ongoing practice of measurement and improvement, reducing the negative and increasing the positive. We support the priorities of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and share the view that businesses have a role to play in implementing solutions to our world's most pressing crises. Many of these global crises intersect with the global coffee industry and supply chains.
When answering questions about impact, we believe it is important to define terminology, as "responsibility", “ethics” and “sustainability” can be interpreted in many ways. This enables us to build consensus as a team, and those sharing data with us across our supply chain, as well as with you, our customers.
We consider impact across many spheres in our supply chain, from coffee purchasing, to our employer policies and company culture, all the way to packaging and distribution.
We are working to make our organizational impacts more transparent and measurable in 2021. For now you can visit our website page that outlines our responsible purchasing practice and ways in which we work to reduce our environmental footprint.
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