Can compostable coffee bags help achieve a B Corp certification?

Amelia Cooper
August 15, 2022
Can compostable coffee bags help achieve a B Corp certification

Across all industries and sectors, enhancing sustainability standards has proven to boost brand revenue.

Notably, research shows as much as 81% of consumers would rather buy from sustainable brands. Additionally, 88% want brands to demonstrate an immediate and urgent commitment to future sustainability

As calls for transparency grow louder, many roasters are choosing to invest in coffee packaging made from sustainable or compostable materials. More so, they are looking for the certifications to back up their environmental claims. 

For many in the sector, it can be difficult to find certifications that match their business’ aims. An increasingly popular route is one offered by B Corporation, otherwise known as “B Corp”. 

B Corporation is a private certification of a business’s social and environmental performance, and attaining one should be a step in every roaster’s sustainability strategy. 

So, for those who have made the investment, could compostable coffee bags help achieve a B Corp certification?

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An image of a coffee shop with a B Corp certification in an article on whether compostable coffee bags help achieve a B Corp certification

What is a B Corp certification?

Founded in America in 2006, B Corporations have been around for almost 20 years. 

It has recently surged in popularity, fuelled by the global sustainability drive. In essence, a B Corp certification assures consumers that a company is a not-for-profit and redirects its gains towards investments that ensure positive global impact. This is opposed to keeping the profits or reinvesting in a new stock drive, for example. 

The B Corp label can be a challenge to earn, but once achieved, it is a proud badge of honour for sustainable, mission-driven companies. 

Currently, over 4,000 global companies have become B Corps, including Ben & Jerry’s, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and Patagonia. 

To gain B Corp status, a company must prove it archives an ongoing positive impact, that it enhances the lives of its employees, supports communities, and protects the environment.

It is holistic and not exclusively focused on a single social or environmental issue. The website itself states the process to achieve and maintain certification is rigorous and requires engaging teams and departments across the company. 

Therefore, roasters and coffee shops aiming to achieve B Corp status must meet its notoriously high standards. 

First, they will need to demonstrate the conscientiousness of their social and environmental ethos. This is done by achieving a B Impact Assessment score of 80 or above, and passing the risk review. 

Then, they will have to legally change the structure of corporate governance within the company, so the business is accountable to all stakeholders. From there, complete transparency is required, as the company performance will be measured against B Lab’s standards

If a roaster or coffee shop meets all these standards, they will be granted the certification. That said, they will still need to go through the verification process, which takes place every three years.

An image of a barista using a V60 in a coffee shop with multilayer kraft paper coffee bag on counter in an article on whether compostable coffee bags help achieve a B Corp certification

Why should roasters & coffee shops aim for B Corp certification?

Due to its high standards and repeated verification process, a B Corp certification is highly respected

This – in a time where just about every company is trying to brag about its sustainability standards – is a highly valuable trait. 

According to a 2021 report, 40% of assessed websites were seen to make misleading environmental claims

The International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN) found almost 50% of randomly selected websites used greenwashing tactics. This includes using vague claims and unclear language, as well as their own brand eco logos and labels that were not associated with an accredited organisation. 

Additionally, they were found to be hiding or omitting certain information or lacking adequate explanation or evidence of any claims.

With the B Corp certification, coffee businesses can avoid accusations of “greenwashing” or using “buzzwords” for marketing purposes. It is an effective way to state a company’s sustainability commitments are clear, accurate, and transparent. 

More so, the B Corp certification is unique for its far-reaching focus. Rather than restricting its requirements to a single aspect of a company, such as net zero water usage, for example, companies have to understand all nuances of their impact.

Alongside the brand reputation value of becoming B Corp certified, its strict standards will also help improve a roaster’s equity and transparency standards. It is an opportunity for coffee businesses to reflect on what they do and how it can be done better. 

Then, roasters and coffee shops can use their profits to make a meaningful impact and build a legacy they and their employees can be proud of.

Arguably, the biggest benefit of a B Corp is the fact that it helps businesses to establish sophisticated, pioneering sustainability standards. 

For instance, roasters can use the B Hive platform to connect with other B Corp members and share guidance. 

Therefore, roasters and coffee shops can use this certification to minimise their environmental impact and help future-proof the specialty sector.

To these aims, a wide variety of roasteries have become B Corp certified, including Origin, Coaltown, Thread Coffee Roasters, and Glen Lyon Coffee Roasters

An image of a coffee roaster holding a compostable coffee bag in roastery in an article on whether compostable coffee bags help achieve a B Corp certification

Can compostable coffee bags help achieve a B Corp certification?

Compostable coffee bags can help a roaster achieve a B Corp certification. 

When calculating a business’s B Impact Assessment score, a key factor that will be assessed is its sustainability standards. This will include a roaster’s choice of packaging materials, among a wide variety of other factors. 

It is important to note that using compostable bags is a step in the right direction. Becoming a B Corp requires a commitment to sustainability across all operations of business. 

That said, investing in compostable coffee packaging is a simple and effective way to enhance a roaster’s application. 

The popularity of compostable coffee packaging is increasing rapidly, as many roasters have found they can make the switch almost seamlessly. Additionally, they receive a wide wave of consumer support when they do so. 

Non-compostable coffee packaging is unsustainable, meaning it can completely hinder a B Impact Assessment score. 

In comparison, compostable bags are made using sustainable and widely available materials, and are able to break down without leaving toxic residues. 

They reduce a package’s environmental impact to the bare minimum, and can help demonstrate a roaster’s complete commitment to long-term sustainability. 

An image of compostable coffee bag next to a coffee grinder on a counter in an article on whether compostable coffee bags help achieve a B Corp certification

At MTPak Coffee, we offer a wide variety of compostable coffee products, including biodegradable bags and pouches made from kraft or rice paper, as well as fully compostable takeaway cups

We’ve worked with some of the biggest names in the coffee sector, to help them reach higher, long-term sustainability standards by providing a range of 100% recyclable coffee packaging options

We are able to design and digitally print on compostable coffee bags, to showcase your eco logos and labels. Additionally, we are able to offer low minimum order quantities (MOQs) of packaging, no matter what size or material. 

For more information on compostable coffee bags, contact our team.

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