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. From day one, we've been committed to driving solutions across our business operations, and to raising awareness about the people, places and impacts of coffee consumption. This doesn’t mean we are perfect at doing this - but we're deeply committed to the goal, and measuring our progress along the way. We update this page regularly.
Transparency And Relationships
Reducing Price Volatility For Farmers
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. Fair Trade guarantees that a cooperative is paid at least $1.40 USD per pound for their coffee. This number is only relative to what the average farmer in a given co-op will earn above their fixed and variable farming costs. Our average FOB* price to date, for coffees where this data was possible to collect, is $2.62/LB USD. The past five year average commercial price for a pound of coffee is $1.19/LB USD.
*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. 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.
From many places and people! *All data is taken from a study of 47 coffees served or contracted from late 2018 through the present. You can e-mail us at email@example.com for more information on this study.
Among the 47 coffees with comparable datasets accounted for in this study, 77% of our were produced by smallholder farmers (farmers holding 5 or fewer hectares of land)). We made these purchases via regional communities of farmers, cooperatives, and informal producer associations, as market and export accessibility is rare for a single smallholder farmer. Research supports that supporting cooperatives has more widespread positive impact throughout the community than is common when purchasing from individual businesses, such as independently owned estates or larger farms.
The majority of the other coffees considered in this study come from family farms or estates smaller than 100 hectares, which would still be considered “small” compared to commercial agri-businesses. “ From there, we work primarily with trusted intermediaries called importers, who work to move our coffee from the country of origin to our warehouse and roasting facility in Montreal. In 2019 and 2020, we worked with the following importers for at least two coffees:
Crop to Cup
Red Fox Coffee Merchants
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