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 today sell their crop for less than it costs to produce. From day one, we've asked ourselves "is there a better way?" We built our supply chain from the ground up, considering the social and environmental impacts of our vertical operations, and continuously striving towards a more sustainable and equitable direction. Scroll down to learn more. We update this page regularly.
Transparency And Relationships
Thinking Differently About Coffee Prices
Coffee was established as a colonial cash crop over 500 years ago. According to numerous studies, prices paid for green specialty coffees still today often do not cover the full cost of production.
A pound of coffee will pass through several intermediaries before landing on a grocery store shelf. This makes price transfer and equitable payment accountability rather opaque. We are tenacious about rigorous data collection and pricing discovery within our various supply chains so that we may 1) uncover pricing models outside of industry standard that ensure profitable income for the producers who supply us and 2) provide full price traceability to you, the consumer Check back soon for a transparent pricing and benchmark report.
Reducing Our Environmental Impact
Coffee is a high intensity carbon impact food. Most GHG emissions and landfill waste occur in the final phases of coffee's lifecycle (roasting, distributing, retailing, brewing and consuming). We are committed to delivering a lower carbon impact cup and rendering each stage of our supply chain more efficient in waste and GHG output. Here are some of these initiatives today:
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.
Approximately 15% of the past 40 coffees we have purchased or contracted as of December 2020 in 2019-2020 were certified Fair Trade Certified.
Our vision of responsible sourcing includes certifications, but is not limited to coffees that have them. Why? Because certified coffees can contribute to the development of a sustainable industry, but they are not the only, and not always the easiest or price accessible pathway for a farmer or farmer group to adopt. Fair Trade guarantees that a minimum premium above the commodities price for coffee $1.40 USD per pound (Paid to the exporter, not the farmer, so the farmer may earn 50-70% of this depending on the supply chain) for their coffee. Across many reputable studies the known cost to produce 1 lb of coffee for the archetypical small scale farmer ranges from $1.30 USD to $1.50 USD. Our average Farmgate price on our last 36 contracted coffees averaged at 1.90/LB USD. The past five year average commercial price for a pound of coffee is $1.10/LB USD. All this to say, a certification is not a replacement for pricing or supply chain transparency and coffee producers may still earn less than their operating costs, even in a Fair Trade certified supply chain. READ MORE
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