The language around how we address and tackle environmental issues, plays a crucial role in how we frame the issue. One of the most pervasive expressions is 'environmentally friendly'. Related expressions include 'carbon neutral' or 'green'. Whilst we have a general idea of these terms, what do they truly mean? And do coffee businesses, or businesses at large, fundamentally adhere to any set of 'environmentally friendly' practices. Let's debunk each term, and the underlying notions, and explore why we use the term 'Eco Conscious'.
THE MYTH OF ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY
Whenever a business uses the slogan 'environmentally friendly' what exactly does that mean? From oxford languages 'not harmful to the environment.' Regardless of your business model, and the structure of economics, transport, and logistics surrounding it, at minimum some degree of harm will befall the environment. Whether it's the collateral harm of resources required to build electric cars, or small amount of plastic packaging that takes hundreds of years to degrade. Types of environmental issues include air, water and land pollution, deforestation, resource depletion, climate change so it's a behemoth of an issue to address!
With regards to the coffee industry, a growing trend is addressing issues of 'environmentally friendly practices'. But coffee is anything but a 'green' commodity. Assuming the coffee plant growing conditions put the least amount of harm on the local environment, the logistics of transporting and roasting coffee has high levels of CO2 emitted as a result. Additionally, what packaging is used from seed to cup? Where does it go? Without appealing to futility, it's absolutely worth reducing the level harm within the wide scope of environmental issues. The term 'eco conscious' addresses this and more.
MOVING FORWARD WITH ECO-CONSCIOUS
To be eco conscious is having strong concern for environmental issues, and taking practical steps to at least mitigate, if not stop, the harm befalling the environment in one form or another. At Cannon, we source our coffee from farms such as Mio who are committed to eco-conscious practices like crop rotation, solar energy, farm waste being used as compost. The next wave in specialty coffee is transparency, so showing you the full picture of how coffee can be eco-conscious from seed to cup is crucial if we care about sustainability.