Special Sustainability Section; sustainability is inherent in today’s brands

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is no longer a paragraph explanation feature in the glossy pages of an annual report — companies must be actively engaged in ‘good practices’ and sustainable initiatives or today’s consumers will hold them responsible. Companies operating in the coffee and tea industries have had sustainable programs in place long before many other industries were cognizant of the importance. Below, some of the leading global coffee and tea brands share their current and ongoing sustainability efforts.

Efforts at Origin

Partners Coffee, the Brooklyn-based specialty coffee roaster, has sourced its coffee from producers it knows and trusts, from the beginning, recognising its responsibility to foster a sustainable supply chain that ensures quality coffee for consumers and quality of life for the farmers.

It aspires to purchase from the same producers and communities year after year and to work directly with producers, when possible, to promote mutual, long term success through communication and shared growth.

redesigned all
its Single Origin
coffee bags to
better reflect its
sourcing ethos.
Image credit:
Partners Coffee

Partner’s El Ramo sourcing project that focuses on the bi-annual buying of coffees from a single municipality in the Antioquia department of Colombia, is one of its long-lasting farm relationships. Owing to the strength and resilience of this supply chain, Partners were able to relaunch El Faldón in June 2023, a seasonal single origin offering from one of the producers of El Ramo.

Clipper Tea, based in the United Kingdom, has purchased more than USD $7 million of Fairtrade premium teas to date and is certified organic – limiting the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals used and ensuring it employs a more holistic approach to farming practices that are kinder to the environment. Like Fairtrade, Clipper is on a mission to raise awareness of the benefits of natural and sustainable farming for the planet.

Remedy Kombucha’s Responsible Sourcing & Ethics policy ensures that Remedy and its suppliers uphold laws and regulations regarding modern slavery, labour, health and safety and the environment. The Australia-based company knows where every ingredient in all its drinks comes from, right down to the live culture (also known as SCOBY: symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast).

This traceability is key, not only for minimising environmental impact, but it is also becoming increasingly important for today’s consumer, who wants to know where the food and drink that they are consuming is coming from and are concerned with ‘clean labels’.

Image: Remedy Kombucha

In its 2022 Drink Well. Do Good. Corporate Responsibility Report, Keurig Dr Pepper outlined its 2022 achievements and its targets for 2023. Firstly, in 2021, KDP committed to support regenerative agriculture and conservation on 250,000 acres of land by 2030. Reporting progress for the first year, KDP achieved 11,296 acres in 2022. It also maintained 100 percent responsibly sourced coffee and cocoa in 2022 and was named the largest buyer of Fairtrade Certified coffee in the world for the 13th consecutive year.

KDP also remains committed to sourcing 100percentof its electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The company reported reductions in overall emissions, facilitated in part by purchasing 74 percent of electricity from renewable sources (up from 62 percent in 2021).

In the Community

With the wellbeing of their tea community being a top priority, Canada-based DAVIDsTEA joined the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), a global membership organisation that is catalysing long-term, systemic change, to benefit everybody who works in tea — especially people in tea-producing regions. Additionally, DAVIDsTEA has increased its collection of Fairtrade Certified teas by 125 percent by 2022.

DAVIDsTEA has also launched impact initiatives to further its work to create a more inclusive and diverse tea community on a local level. The brand collaborated with Tea Horse, a woman-led, Indigenous-owned artisanal tea company, to create a specialty co-branded tea, called Manoomin Maple. DAVIDsTEA also partnered with the Jun Chiyabari Tea Garden, the sourcing location for their Organic Nepal Black Tea, to address the need for clean drinking water in government schools in Nepal. Since March 2022, one percent of proceeds from Nepal Black contribute to this Nepal Clean Water project. The scope of the project now encompasses four schools making clean water accessible to over 3,200 children and staff.


Organic herbal tea company, Pukka Herbs, has partnered with Energy Garden, a ‘community benefit society,’ to power its UK sites with 100 percent renewable electricity from community energy projects in the UK.

Pukka has signed on to a two-year power- purchase agreement, whereby the electricity required to power Pukka’s head offices in Keynsham near Bristol and warehouse, Quadrant, will be 100 percent bought from and provided by community energy projects.

Energy Garden is a ‘community benefit society’ that supports communities to install and maintain gardens on railway stations across London to bring green space back into the city. The revenue generated by the sale of community- owned renewable energy, such as that sold to Pukka, funds these gardens, as well as education programmes.

In addition to the cost per kWh that Pukka will pay for electricity, Pukka has also committed to paying a social premium each year, as well as making an upfront donation before the contract’s initiation.

Furthermore, Pukka also has a commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and is one of the 500 B Corps that pledged to achieving this goal in Madrid at COP2025 in 2019.

Pukka and Energy Garden will collaborate on the creation of herbal education modules for the Energy Garden Schools Programme, which focuses on engaging and educating children at Key Stage 2, 3 and 4 levels in and around London on energy and environmental issues.

Image: Starbucks

Starbucks is developing a new sustainability learning and innovation lab at Hacienda Alsacia – the company’s global agronomy headquarters for research and development, located in Costa Rica.

The lab will offer the first wave of educational programming to select Arizona State University (ASU) students and Starbucks partners. The first wave will leverage ASU’s leading educational technology and world-class faculty to enrich the student experience, including study abroad opportunities.

As a company that buys 3 percent of the world’s highest quality and ethically sourced Arabica coffee from more than 400,000 farmers in more than 30 countries, Starbucks understands its future is inextricably tied to social and environmental challenges. The company has a longstanding commitment to work alongside communities to become a resource positive company, including cutting its carbon, water and waste footprints in half by 2030.

Starbucks and ASU have a long-term partnership of working together to build educational and innovative programming. Most recently, Starbucks and ASU reached a milestone of graduating more than 10,000 partners through the Starbucks College Achievement Program.

Melitta North America, a division of Germany-based Melitta Bentz, has launched its 2023 One Million Tree Challenge through American Forests. For every dollar donated, a tree will be planted in the US by American Forests, and Melitta has committed to match each donationplaced on its website until the goal is reached.

Throughout its more than 20 year partnership with American Forests, Melitta has planted over 600,000 trees in landscapes across the country, helping to reduce the effects of climate change by restoring 4,000 acres of forest and absorbing 6,161 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. A single tree can capture 3.5 pounds of air pollutants – like ozone, dust and particulate matter – per year.

Progress in Packaging

To further highlight Partners’ single origin programme, the company redesigned all Single Origin coffee bags to better reflect its sourcing ethos. Now that it has made the move from kraft bags to the new off-white single origin bags, Partners’ entire line up of roasted-to-order coffee comes in packaging that is eligible for Savor’s R&R Reprocess and Repurpose programme. Customers can bring these back to Partner’s – the bag material and tin ties, once returned, are then sent back and given a new life by Savor’s partners in California and Minnesota.

Partners has also expanded its product line and is offering sustainably packaged coffee where possible. For example, it expanded into instant coffee in 2021 and chose a supplier that was able to provide the company with biodegradable sachets and fully recyclable boxes. Its Rockaway Cold Brew pouches are also biodegradable, and because they are extremely lightweight, have a much smaller carbon footprint than shipping canned or bottled cold brew liquid.

Image: Clipper

Clipper has brought a ‘world first’ to market with its unbleached, plant-based, non-GM, and fully biodegradable tea bags. It is working on several upcoming green packaging options, such as reducing its packaging weight and improving its recyclability. Clipper’s target is to ensure its packaging is 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 and it is confident that it will be able to meet that.

Much of the Remedy range is already sold in infinitely recyclable can format, and it is committed to incorporating recycled and/or renewable content in more than 50percentof its products by 2025. In 2022, Remedy UK bottles moved to 50 percent RPET, saving Ca 5 tonnes a year, plus Remedy has removed carbon from black PET lids. The company aims to reduce packaging weight and optimise packaging material efficiency in more than 50 percent of Remedy products.

DAVIDsTEA’s sachet bags are entirely plastic-free and biodegradable. The brand has recently introduced new compostable mailers to replace boxes with excess packaging materials and introduced new wholesale sachet packaging with compostable overwraps, as of late last year, which are currently being introduced through its wholesale channel.

Kiss the Hippo was launched in 2018 with a dedication to bringing high quality, ethically sourced and sustainably roasted coffee to the UK and beyond. With that in mind, it developed its own home compostable Nespresso-compatible coffee pods, which, like the whole brand, are entirely carbon negative. They are 100 percent plastic free and biobased, offering specialty grade coffee in a recycled and recyclable packaging. Further, its cold brew is served in RTD cans that are plastic free and infinitely recyclable.


Remedy’s new state of the art fermentary continues to follow the same traditional brewing methods, with significant investment in sustainability. Thanks to 2,000 solar panels on the building’s roof, production is powered by renewable energy throughout the day. Organic waste (including tea, ginger and SCOBY) is processed to produce organic fertiliser. Rainwater is also harvested for appropriate grey water use.

Remedy has a comprehensive sustainability strategy in place and is committed to achieving identifiable goals by 2025. This includes sourcing 50 percent of its energy from renewable energy sources, diverting more than 50 percent of solid waste generated at its manufacturing facilities from landfill, and reducing its water usage by at least 25 percent.

Nestlé has published its 2022 Annual Report alongside its Creating Shared Value and Sustainability (CSV) Report.As part of its focus on ‘Good for You’, Nestlé strives to be an industry leader in bringing tasty, balanced diets within reach for people around the world. Nestlé has benchmarked its products against the Health Star Rating (HSR) system, a nutrient profiling system used by the Access to Nutrition Index. The results show that Nestlé products,with an HSR rating of 3.5 stars and above, account for close to 60 percent of the company’s sales. The company has committed to setting a global target for the healthier part of its portfolio.

As part of its ‘Good for the Planet’ work, Nestlé further reduced greenhouse gas emissions to below its 2018 baseline. It is now well beyond peak carbon. Nestlé is tackling the emissions within its own operations head on. For example, it increased its use of renewable electricity last year and is on track to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025.

Image: Melitta

Several years ago, Melitta’s installed solar panels at its coffee roasting facility in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The plant’s solar panels have an estimated annual environmental benefit equivalent to the planting of 50,942 trees, the conservation of 367,425 gallons of water and the removal of 1,017,767 pounds of CO2 from the earth’s atmosphere.Starbucks has certified its 3,508 Greener Stores globally, expanding the programme to 20 markets, with many first-in-market Greener Stores across Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Starbucks has certified its 3,508 Greener Stores globally, expanding the programme to 20 markets, with many first-in-market Greener Stores across Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Starbucks Greener Stores Framework, co-developed with the World Wildlife Fund, includes a set of 25 performance-based standards across environmental impact areas such as energy efficiency, water stewardship, and waste diversion. Some stores have obvious elements like solarpanels or water recycling tanks. While others have less obvious features behind the counter like high efficiency appliances, low-emitting paint and sealants, recycling tampers, and energy efficient HVAC temperature systems.

In the US, Starbucks Greener Stores practices have saved the company almost USD $60 million in annual operating costs, including 30percentwater savings and 30percentenergy reduction when compared to historic store practices. In markets around the world, Greener Stores energy and water savings and waste diversion help advance the company’s goal to reduce carbon emissions, water usage and landfill waste by 50 percent by 2030.

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