The early 2000s saw the term Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) appear in a landmark study titled ‘Who Cares Wins’.
In essence, the report suggested that embedding environmental, social, and governance factors in capital markets makes good business sense. Furthermore, the report suggested it may lead to more sustainable markets and better outcomes for society.
The impact of ESG has shown its relevance by helping secure funding while keeping both stakeholders and shareholders happy. More so, it enables a business to ask the questions needed to be a foundation for growth, development, and success.
So, is ESG important for specialty coffee roasters? Absolutely. ESG can help roasters reduce risks and build trust with customers and investors alike.
Customer loyalty is built when businesses provide a consistent product and show a willingness to adapt and reduce their environmental impact. For specialty roasters, this includes investing in sustainable coffee packaging.
Read on to learn more about ESG and how it affects coffee packaging.
Why is ESG essential in the coffee industry?
With the effects of climate change becoming increasingly clear, the future of coffee is in question.
Fluctuating temperatures are making it difficult for farmers to grow consistently high quality coffee. Changes in temperature or rainfall can drastically impact the quality of a crop and its yield.
More so, the coffee plants may be at risk of dying due to drought or frost, as was recently seen in Brazil.
Additionally, unexpected landslides are wiping out entire coffee farms. As the arabica coffee plant can take up to five years to mature and bear cherries, landslides have devastating consequences that could take a minimum of half a decade to recover from.
Furthermore, the producers often lack the funds to recover from the damage, as coffee prices continue to drop.
So, reviewing ESG practices and the impact of coffee businesses on communities and the planet is essential to running a successful operation.
Roasters that fail to review their impact on the environment, or how they are supporting the global community coffee, may find themselves without green coffee or a business.
Breaking down ESG
Essentially, the three pillars of ESG are environment, social, and governance, and each can be broken down into more detail.
This looks at issues such as sustainability, waste and pollution, resource depletion, greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and climate change.
Roasters must determine whether their business operations contribute to these issues, and how they can lessen its impact. This includes reducing emissions during the roasting process, lowering energy and water use, and investing in sustainable coffee packaging.
Roasters must act responsibly to lessen the effects of climate change and make their business part of the solution.
This refers to the impact of a roasters operation regarding labour and human rights. It encompasses a roaster’s employees, the local community, loyal customers, and the supply chain.
This could include employee diversity and inclusion, as well as health and safety in the workplace. Furthermore, a transparent supply chain and any corporate social responsibilities (CSR) fall under this pillar.
This refers to how a corporation polices itself and the way in which it is governed.
Essentially, it should encapsulate a roaster’s efforts for transparency, accountability, and compliance. This includes providing reports that are accessible to customers and stakeholders to build trust and analyse the business’ impact.
It helps ensure roasters are adhering to government advice and policies and honouring any contracts in place.
As climate change is a priority for many industries, including specialty coffee, roasters must consider how they handle one of its largest contributors: single-use plastics.
According to Greenpeace, a truckload of plastic enters the ocean every minute. Furthermore, supermarkets in the UK alone produce 800,000 tonnes of plastic every year.
Notably, the UK produces more plastic waste per person than any other country, with vast amounts of it being sent overseas. A recent report shows Greenpeace investigators discovered UK plastic waste being dumped and burned on a roadside in Turkey.
The report says this was done near local waterways and in open air, and since the incident, locals have begun reporting serious health problems.
The importance of sustainable coffee packaging
Both roasters and cafes have the responsibility to ensure coffee packaging is disposed of properly and will not end up in a landfill.
That said, they must also ensure the product arrives in pristine condition, with all the coffee characteristics preserved.
Advancements in packaging materials mean roasters can provide customers with coffee bags that can be disposed of without affecting the environment.
However, it is still the roasters’ responsibility to encourage and reward recycling or composting, as well as make it accessible and easy for customers.
Roasters can custom print coffee packaging to instruct customers on how to dispose of empty bags.
Additionally, roasters and coffee shops can sign up for recycling programmes and include a stamped envelope with each order. This helps incentivise customers to send empty coffee bags back for recycling.
Alternatively, businesses can offer incentives such as discounts on future orders for returning used coffee packaging.
Coffee businesses can then partner with a composting plant or recycling facility to have the packaging collected and processed.
As a roaster, offering sustainable packaging and recycling programmes shows customers you are serious about the impact your business has on the planet. It also proves that you are doing your part to support coffee farmers around the world, and protecting the future of the industry.
Like many within the specialty sector, MTPak Coffee is dedicated to securing the future of coffee. We provide our clients with sustainable coffee packaging options and accessories that can help minimise their carbon footprint and improve ESG.
We offer a selection of completely recyclable coffee packaging alternatives produced from renewable resources like kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an eco-friendly PLA lining, all of which reduce waste and support a circular economy.
We offer sustainable coffee packaging in a variety of shapes, including shaped pouches, stand up bags, flat bottom pouches, quad seal bags, side gusset pouches, and drip coffee bags.
Furthermore, our range of corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes is made from 100% recycled cardboard and available in a wide range of size options.
Our design team is available to help you create the ideal coffee packaging by custom-printing your design using innovative digital printing technology, with a quick turnaround time of 40-hours and 24-hour shipping time.
MTPak Coffee also offers low minimum order quantities (MOQs) to micro-roasters who are looking to remain agile while showcasing brand identity and a commitment to the environment.