Hot Stuff: How espresso machines cause global warming

❖ Part of the Coffee's Carbon Footprint series

Reducing coffee’s carbon footprint by tackling the energy consumption of espresso machines

More Hot Stuff: How espresso machines cause global warmingUpdated on

Strengthening the coffee industry by eliminating the reusable cup discount

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

Reducing methane emissions by 30 percent to address climate change

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 change

Available until 7 January 2021

Updated on

Looking at the cost and benefit to lowering environmental impacts through eliminating takeout cups

❖ Part of the Coffee's Carbon Footprint series

Learning from the Boston Tea Party experience

More Looking at the cost and benefit to lowering environmental impacts through eliminating takeout cups

Milk Matters: Small changes can dramatically lower your coffee’s carbon footprint

❖ Part of the Coffee's Carbon Footprint series

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 decisions

More Milk Matters: Small changes can dramatically lower your coffee’s carbon footprintUpdated on

Running a Sustainable Coffee Shop

Originally presented at Caffè Culture 2019, this Keynote explores financial and environmental sustainability with a focus on propositions and carbon emissions

More Running a Sustainable Coffee ShopUpdated on

Calculating the Coffee Industry’s Carbon Emissions

❖ Part of the Coffee's Carbon Footprint series

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

Our Digital Carbon Emissions are part of the Coffee Industry’s Environmental Impact

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

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

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

Reducing United Baristas carbon footprint

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.


References
• How to stop data centres from gobbling up the world’s electricity (Nature, 2018)
• Global Warming of 1.5 ºC (IPCC, 2019)
• Carbon Footprint across the Coffee Supply Chain: The Case of Costa Rican Coffee (Killian et al., 2013)
• Kew scientists reveal that 60% of wild coffee species are threatened with extinction, causing concern for the future of coffee production (Kew Gardens, 2019)
Updated on