When lockdown lifts to permit coffee shop trade, we should end the customer discount for reusable cups. Here’s why, how we should use the money instead, and why this is the best moment to implement this change.More Strengthening the coffee industry by eliminating the reusable cup discount
Lancashire diary farm Brades Farm have been working with a Swiss argo-science company to pilot a feed supplement, significantly reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from their herds.More Reducing methane emissions by 30 percent to address climate changeUpdated on
Learning from the Boston Tea Party experienceMore Looking at the cost and benefit to lowering environmental impacts through eliminating takeout cups
Want to reduce your coffee’s environmental impacts? Milk is responsible for the majority of a cup’s carbon footprint, so lower your impacts in 2020 by making informed decisionsMore Milk Matters: Small changes can dramatically lower your coffee’s carbon footprintUpdated on
Originally presented at Caffè Culture 2019, this Keynote explores financial and environmental sustainability with a focus on propositions and carbon emissionsMore Running a Sustainable Coffee ShopUpdated on
Carbon dioxide is colourless, tasteless and odourless, but it’s everywhere and causing global warming. So how do we work out how much carbon is emitted to make a cup of coffee?More Calculating the Coffee Industry’s Carbon EmissionsUpdated on
Let’s be aware of our online carbon footprint, and how United Baristas is offsetting your use of our services.More Our Digital Carbon Emissions are part of the Coffee Industry’s Environmental ImpactUpdated on
With environmental pressures continuing to mount, United Baristas starts a series on how the coffee industry can lower its impacts.More With so many crises, what do we focus on?
With increasing environmental pressures, and a fast-growing user base, United Baristas has offset the carbon emissions from the use of its services.More United Baristas has offset the carbon emissions from the use of its services by planting trees in the coffee producing counties of Kenya and Brazil
The use of our services emits carbon emissions contributing to climate change. Here’s how we are reducing our footprint, mitigating the impacts and working to lower the coffee industry’s total emissions.
The use of websites and apps produces carbon emissions
Thinking about our carbon footprint
A driving rationale for starting United Baristas was to enable a full and productive working life for coffee equipment to help lower the industry’s environmental impacts. By facilitating the buying and selling of used equipment between baristas, we understood that this would support the ongoing viability of the coffee industry, help baristas and businesses to achieve their individual goals and lower the industry’s carbon emissions.
United Baristas Marketplace was our first service. Over time we’ve also added services to:
- enable the better selection of equipment
- provide information on the maintenance of equipment
- make engineering services more accessible
As well as creating commercial value for baristas and coffee businesses, 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.
Measuring the reduction in emissions
Ideally United Baristas would like to calculate how much carbon the industry is saving through the better maintenance and extended life of equipment. However, estimating the reduction in carbon emissions and general environmental benefit United Baristas services presently achieve has been 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 – both for ourselves and the industry. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is international procedure for calculating the environmental impacts of an item, for example ISO14040:2006. An LCA includes analysis for the acquisition of resources, its production, distribution and use, as well as the energy required to dispose or recycle the item. To date, LCAs are not commonly performed for coffee equipment, despite their significant carbon footprints.
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 vastly outweighs the impacts from its use – but this is presently difficult to calculate.
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.
Reducing United Baristas carbon emissions
In the autumn of 2019 we made significant upgrades to our websites, and amended some of our internal processes to reduce the carbon emissions from the use of our services. The changes saw United Baristas move from average, to the top 10% most efficient sites. In absolutely terms, we have reduced our carbon emissions per page view between half to two-thirds.
Over the past four years United Baristas have doubled in size each year. With these updates we anticipate being able to double in size again, and our carbon footprint to flatline, or even reduce.
It’s been another great example for us that what gets measured gets done. And we encourage all coffee businesses to calculate their carbon emissions as a critical first step to reducing their emissions.
Obviously we have a long way to go. 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’ and the impacts of climate change both threaten coffee production and the livelihoods of many of the world’s coffee producers.
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.