Special Supplier Sustainability Section
Image: Kloth & Köhnken Teehandel GmbH
Sustainability at Work at Origin
Since its formation, Kloth & Köhnken Teehandel GmbH has espoused sustainable values. “This is
how we contribute to a tomorrow in harmony with nature itself. We take on this responsibility as the logical consequence of our environmentconscious everyday actions.” Kloth & Köhnken (K&K) pursues this goal by working together with its business partners to create a sustainable value chain in a future-oriented manner. Its sustainable team aims to implement all issues for the new German due diligence law and for the European law to come.
Furthermore, the company supports those who adopt sustainable farming practices with its expert knowledge and personal engagement. K&K prefers to purchase certified goods (Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, Organic and Fairbiotea) and supports companies that are sustainable, treat their employees well and think about the environment.
“That is how we create the conditions for positively impactful business. Uncompromising in regards of product quality, trading that product with utmost respect. It is an investment in the future – its own reward.”
Under the motto ‘K&K Goes Green’, the company is increasing its focus on sustainability and internal processes are to be optimised and made more efficient. This includes involving all employees for suggestions and ideas and raising awareness for a more sustainable way of living.
K&K believes that sustainable actions cannot be decreed; rather, it is a learning process. Through
the Bremen, Germany-based company’s FairBioTea (www.fairbiotea.de) development partnerships, it
actively supports Chinese tea farmers growing sustainably and improving their quality management.
Since 2007, K&K has been working with selected tea gardens to make farming more ecological, transparent and sustainable. The company is especially proud of its long-standing collaboration in tea-producing countries where its partners dictate the pace at which they adopt environmentally friendly practices. Through FairBioTea, Kloth & Köhnken establishes a fair and reliable framework for transparent, sustainable tea production, culminating in a premium product, and sensible tea prices.
Being a leading green coffee service group with over 50 companies in 26 countries, responsibility
and sustainability have always been integral to Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG). NKG is committed to a growing, sustainable coffee industry and good corporate citizenship. Consideration of social, environmental and economic needs is a crucial part of its business model and contributes to its long-term success. The framework for this is provided by the NKG Responsible Business Program. This program establishes four focus areas that define responsible and sustainable business at NKG: promoting responsible conduct within NKG; growing impact in its supply chain; improving farmer livelihoods; and improving its environmental footprint.
NKG commits to making significant progress in its four focus areas over the next 5-10 years through nine strategic objectives with specific targets. The strategy is based on and embedded in the company’s overall work on corporate responsibility, sustainability and business ethics, and centralises a variety of NKG efforts. As part of its active commitment, for example, NKG has created two initiatives to serve the needs of coffee growers and coffee buyers around the world: NKG Bloom and NKG Verified.
NKG Bloom is focused on improving farmer livelihoods. Its key aim is safeguarding the future of green coffee supplies by ensuring that coffee farming is a financially viable business that can provide financial security to families. NKG Bloom empowers farmers to run their businesses at full potential, through custom service packages that include training in coffee farming and business best practices, plus access to markets, infrastructure, inputs and seedlings.
Furthermore, NKG Bloom provides easy access to short- and long-term financing, so farmers can invest in their farms and enter a pathway out of poverty. NKG Bloom’s goal is to meaningfully improve the livelihoods of 300,000 coffee farming families across 10 countries by 2030.
NKG Verified is focused on meeting key sustainability criteria. It aims to provide traceable coffees produced on farms that comply with specific social, environmental and economic criteria. NKG Verified offers customers insights into the economic, social and environmental performance of the farms producing their coffees. The initiative provides sustainability assurance through internal and third-party audits from farm to export level and aligns with industry standards and integrates easily into customers’ sustainability plans. NKG Verified aligns with and contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that support economic growth, address social issues and enhance environmental protection.
Energy Efficient Manufacturing
Besides sustainable cultivations and environmentally friendly packaging, we need to put more effort into reducing CO2 emissions when producing coffee by abandoning fossil fuel in favour of renewable sources. Scolari Engineering’s e-Roaster is the latest generation of hybrid roasters that uses less natural gas and more electricity, benefiting the environment. Moreover, it increases efficiency thanks to heat recovery systems based on condensing boilers.
The planet is increasing the share of electricity produced with renewable sources (photovoltaic systems, wind farms, and hydropower plants). And in some countries, the amount of electricity available is already higher than that of natural gas. Furthermore, hydropower sources are undoubtedly the cleanest in terms of pollutant emissions. Scolari’s e-Roasters use electricity alternatively to natural gas during the first heating stage, thanks to a set of heating elements. The result is a significant reduction in carbon energy released into the atmosphere.
Using electricity from renewable sources allows Scolari to be more sustainable. In terms of consumption, Scolari’s e-Roasters are fitted with a heat recovery system for preheating green coffee. This technology reduces 25 percent of the system’s energy needs without affecting quality. Fewer emissions, less consumption, more efficiency. Moreover, the recovered heat can be used in other processes, for example, in absorption refrigerators to quickly cool toasted coffee beans and preserve the aroma, or in buildings’ heating and air conditioning systems.
The e-Roaster technology can also be used for retrofitting existing systems to reduce their environmental impact and produce coffee in a much more sustainable way.
Bühler has built the world’s first and only roasting plant that uses 85 percent less CO2 versus conventional coffee production facilities. With its new plant in Vestby, Norway, premium coffee roaster Joh Johannson Kaffe wanted to
achieve the lowest greenhouse gas emissions at high productivity. “Bühler showed that they could provide solutions for all our complex requirements and maintain the excellent flavour of our coffee,”
said Bengt Ove Bitnes Hagen, production director at Joh Johannson Kaffe, based in Oslo.
“The Joh Johannson Kaffe plant proving itself operational is a sign for all industrial coffee producers,” Daniel Egy, head of business unit chocolate and coffee at Bühler, said. “In the roasting process alone, our solutions allow energy savings of around 50 percent, which translates directly into lower production costs.” The energy-intensive roasting process accounts for more than 70 percent of the total energy
consumption of such a plant.
Uzwil, Switzerland-based Bühler supplies the entire processing technology: from green coffee intake to cleaning, blending, roasting, grinding, and including plant automation. The InfinityRoast, with its green coffee preheating unit, is responsible for the extremely low-emission production is. At the Joh Johannson Kaffe plant, Bühler combined this with a novel energy recovery system, which reuses the energy used in preheating and roasting the coffee beans, as well as an energy-efficient emission control system.
The plant uses regenerative thermal oxidation (RTO) that renders the its exhaust gases harmless by burning off organic matter. Excess energy stored in the accumulator tanks is used to heat the
offices and laboratories, among other purposes. The balance of electric power required by the factory is covered by huge photovoltaic solar cells. At maximum capacity, the plant produces up to 12,000 tonnes of coffee per year.
Through InfinityRoast’s auto-corrective, high performance profile control system, which also allows full product traceability, “we were able to give Joh Johannson Kaffe confidence that they could reproduce their high quality and characteristic flavour in the new plant,” said Egy. “From this plant, we supply our customers with outstanding coffee with excellent flavour – a premium product. The fact that we have
reduced energy and CO2 emissions to an absolute
minimum is a compelling selling point,” said Hagen, adding, “thanks to Bühler’s solutions, we are recovering nearly all the energy used [during] roasting. Together, we have achieved the goal of protecting the environment sustainably and for the long term. In addition, we save energy costs and
are even more profitable as a result.”
The Interconnected Approach
The last few years have been challenging for all of us: highly integrated supply chains at home have
been disrupted by developments on the other side of the earth. Social, political and ecological factors
rose in their importance to business matters. And nature shows us clearly the limits of its capacity
to sustain humankind. Since all these problems influence each other, a sustainable solution must
be built from multiple, interconnected actions.
Teepack, therefore, started a program to better understand the cause-effect relationships of its
products and processes. It identified the elements with the most potential for improvement and developed a masterplan with multi-layered solutions to use. These key areas of improvement were:
- The development of its machines. From the moment Teepack started the development of the new machine generation, it always looked into ways to reduce the number of parts needed, improve their durability, and reduce the consumption of power in its machines.
- The manufacture of its machines. The manufacturing and assembly processes receive tough scrutiny. Additive manufacturing methods have been widely implemented, thereby creating an efficient use of materials. Environmentally friendly materials have replaced conventional materials in many places. Flexible assembly planning allows Teepack to build more machines with higher quality in the same space and with the same input of resources.
- The tea bag. As a manufacturer, Teepack knows it is responsible for the production of its product: the tea bag itself. The company took great effort with prime suppliers of consumables to ensure that recyclable materials are also running reliably on its machines. This is also why Teepack offers its new machines exclusively with knotting technology, making the resource heavy staple redundant.
- Travel and digitalisation. By introducing modern communication technology and utilising the
opportunities of Industry 4.0, Teepack can meet its customers virtually and can maintain
machines remotely. With these measures, its carbon footprint is reduced. And with predictive maintenance, Teepack can remedy failures before they happen, helping to preserve the machines and their parts.
By using this network-centric approach, Teepack has significantly reduced its overall consumption
of resources, noting, “We continue this program, successively realising our full potential.” Demus SpA, has been committed to sustainability since its founding 1962 in Trieste, Italy. The company, which decaffeinates and markets decaffeinated green coffee, implemented a Sustainable Management System internally, to pay greater attention to environmental sustainability, current events, and the
extreme importance these aspects have nationally and internationally.
The top management of Demus SpA has established that this intent is compliant with the principles of its Sustainability Policy, viewable and downloadable on its website, www.demus.it.
Demus collaborates with all actors in the supply chain to ensure compliance, which helps to spread
a culture of respect. The company’s idea of sustainability translates into a commitment to not
only reduce its impact on the planet, but also to the social and economic wellbeing its staff.
Demus meets these objectives through actions such as: policies on gender equality, control and verification of safety conditions at work, child exploitation, violation and harassment at work, attention and protection of all stakeholders, reduction of environmental impacts and optimization of resource consumption. Demus’s commitment to sustainability is also achieved through activities such as:
- Maintaining Rainforest Alliance certification
- Achieving all certifications (ISO 14001 – ISO
9001 – ISO 45001 – FSSC 22000 – ISO 17025)
- Obtaining the ISO 50001 certification by the end of 2022.
The close link between energy and environmental sustainability has motivated Demus to take further
action towards energy efficiency, including the installation of a photovoltaic system. Adopting an Energy Management System also helps to meet some of the objectives of the United Nations Global Sustainable Development.
Sustainable Packaging Solutions
Amcor’s coffee packaging addresses the key challenge facing coffee brands: progressing on their sustainability commitments while preserving the aroma and therefore sensory experience that is
essential to consumer satisfaction.
Understanding the impact of a packaging can be difficult. By looking at the full lifecycle of a coffee pack, including raw materials, production and use, through to end of life, Amcor’s lifecycle assessment
service ASSET ™ provides a complete and fact-based comparison of different packaging options. Through ASSET™, coffee brands can apply to carry the Carbon Trust’s ‘Reducing CO2 Packaging’
label to independently communicate their carbon footprint reduction efforts to consumers.
Amcor’s sustainable coffee packaging options include the AmPrima® range, its latest coffee packaging innovation for circularity. All the products are designed to be recycled in existing streams in Europe and offer coffee brands packaging options, with no compromise on performance. AmPrima® PE Plus for roast and ground coffee is suited for all typical coffee pack formats and sizes and is available with both lock/ seal and peel options adding convenience to aroma protection. Per company analysis, the AmPrima range has the potential to replace over 200 current non-recyclable coffee packaging specifications.
A coffee customer that switches from a PET/ Alu/PE structure to an AmPrima® PE-based soft pack can benefit from an up to 73 percent carbon footprint reduction, a 68 percent reduction in non-renewable primary energy usage and an 85 percent reduction in water consumption. The plastic reduction versus similar standard coffee soft packaging on the market in Europe is between 15 and 20 percent. This helps brands reduce costs and minimise environmental fees. AmPrima® for coffee solutions are designed according to Ceflex guidelines for circularity and are cyclos-HTP certified for recyclability in the real world.
At Wollenhaupt Tee GmbH, respect for nature and her gifts are just as important as respect for the people who work in the tea gardens and plantations. Knowing this, Wollenhaupt has defined five fields of action with which it controls its sustainable activities: products, packaging, employees, environment and social responsibility. Wollenhaupt’s goal is to develop and expand its product range in a sustainable manner – from the cooperation with its suppliers and comprehensive quality management up to sustainability along the entire supply chain.
Wollenhaupt offers products with various certifications (RA, Organic, Fair Trade). It is committed to continuously striving to improve and reduce packaging materials. Wollenhaupt’s packaging range includes compostable bags and packaging made from sustainable raw materials, eg cellulose bags, paper bags using PLA or cellulose foil as lamination, or bags made from agricultural waste. When deciding on types of packaging, Wollenhaupt focuses on both the origin of the materials and on environmentally friendly disposal.
Wollenhaupt has implemented its own management system for waste to improve the quality of waste for recycling purposes. It can save energy, because the exhaust air from the compressors used in production does not go to waste but instead is used for heating.
Renewable energies play a key role in addressingclimate change. For Wollenhaupt, switching to
renewable energy sources is one of the most important starting points on the way to reducing one’s own carbon footprint. The company uses 100 percent green electricity and green gas.
Utilizing Sustainable Platforms
EquipNet’s Equipment Sustainability Programs unlock idle machinery potential and contribute to positive corporate citizenship by extending machinery’s useful life, as well as delivering substantial cost avoidance to the enterprise. It’s the essence of a circular economy.
These programs offer a multi-phase approach to sustainably manage companies’ assets through
surplus identification, redeployment, external sales, and EPA/EEA compliant recycling, with real-time
reporting that shows redeployment savings, items listed for sale, sales revenue, and more.
When EquipNet is hired to manage surplus assets on a global level, it considers itself a partner in that process. It acts as an extension of a company’s procurement team and will be proactive so the customer can be confident about its current supply chain. EquipNet provides its customers with options when it comes to an equipment sustainability program. Fortune 500 companies are utilising EquipNet’s all-inclusive model, while other companies prefer a tailored approach that involves internal redeployment and external sales, either combined or acting independently.
By managing asset disposals through a standardised, transparent process, customers are ensured that the proper legal protections are in place and that all transactions comply with applicable corporate and government regulations. In addition, substantial metric tonnes of surplus equipment previously destined for landfill are diverted for Re-Use (Internal and External). To date, EquipNet has helped divert close to 200,000 tonnes of waste from ending up in landfills.
Several leading global manufacturers are already taking advantage of EquipNet’s Sustainability
Programs, such as Unilever, Kraft Heinz, Procter & Gamble, Merck and Bayer. If a full program
is not needed, the all-inclusive model can be altered to fit the needs of any company’s overall