Carbon Offsetting the use of United Baristas services

United Baristas is a digital service, and the use of our services contributes to carbon emissions. Here’s how we are both mitigating the impacts and working to reduce the coffee industry’s total emissions.

The use of websites and apps produces carbon emissions

A driving rationale for starting United Baristas was to enable a full and productive working life for coffee equipment by facilitating the buying and selling of used equipment between equipment.

Over time we’ve added functions to:

  • enable the better selection of equipment
  • provide information on the maintenance of equipment
  • make engineering services more accessible

As well as being commercially valuable for the coffee industry, these services reduce the industry’s environmental impacts by working to ensure that the equipment that is purchase has a full and long working life.

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Estimating the reduction in carbon emissions and general environmental benefit United Baristas services presently achieve is difficult without specific embodied energy information on espresso machines and other key items of coffee equipment. Better understanding the environmental impacts of coffee equipment remains a work in progress.

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With hundreds of machines changing hands and more equipment being better maintained, we would like to think that the environmental benefits from United Baristas services easily mitigate the impacts from its use.

In the interim we’ve taken the step to offset the carbon emissions from the use of our services by contributing to tree planting and protection projects in the coffee producing countries of Kenya and Brazil. Internet usage is now a leading contributor to global warming, accounting for more than two percent of global carbon emissions. We estimate that the use of United Baristas services produced circa six tonnes of carbon dioxide in our year 2018/19.

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United Baristas believes the de-carbonisation of the economy, and particularly the UK’s energy mix, is essential for meeting the the internationally agreed target of a temperature rise of less than 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial levels recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The coffee industry has a special and direct responsibility. Coffee’s carbon footprint is considered a ‘high intensity’ (Killian et al., 2013) and the impacts of climate change both threaten coffee production and the livelihoods of many of the world’s coffee producers (Kew Gardens, 2019).

United Baristas is working to better identify key points of carbon emissions so that the coffee industry can play its part in reaching the IPCC target.