SustainabilityWhat does this term mean in relationship to how coffee is grown? What does this term mean in relationship to how we run Poverty Bay Coffee Company?
What does this term mean in relationship to how all of us live our lives? The answer to all three of these questions is at the very core of the Poverty Bay Coffee Company business philosophy.
The attempt to run any business in a sustainable way can be complicated and often very frustrating but not making that attempt has never been an option for any of us at Poverty Bay Coffee Company.
We are always looking for new ways to become more sustainable and we are humble in the knowledge that we can always do better. Here are the things we have done.
Sustainability in relationship to how coffee is grownCoffee is one of the most important cash crops in the world largely because of where it is grown. Coffee is grown largely in mid to high level rainforests , which are truly the lungs of the planet Earth. Coffee bushes are naturally shade loving and thrive beneath the multiple canopies of a mature old growth rainforest and we all know how important preserving the remaining rainforests is to the long term survival of the our current ecosystems and therefore how important preserving the remaining rainforests is to the long term survival of the human race. Coffee is the last best way that we can utilize the remaining rainforests without feeling the need to mow them down for short term economic benefit.
Back in the 1970’s many in the coffee industry thought the future of coffee was tied to removing all or most of the trees ( for a huge profit ) and planting what is now known as sun grown coffee. Coffee grown in the traditional way, in the shade of the rainforest or shade grown coffee, would go the way of the ten cent coke and the twenty five cent loaf of bread. It all sounded good until the data started coming in years later that sun grown coffee needed tons of fertilizer and pesticides in order to thrive from year to year. Topsoil erosion, a natural side effect of mowing down the erosion buffers (trees) became a major issue and soon the data reflected the common sense conclusion that shade grown coffee was much more profitable and much more sustainable than sun grown coffee.
Luckily, there are still thousands of small and medium size farmers in the coffee growing countries who never made the tragic move from shade grown coffee to sun grown coffee. These farmers are practicing sustainable agriculture in the world’s most important and fragile ecosystem and most of them have been for generations. What these farmers have always needed is a direct trade relationship that could offer them economic sustainability. They need partners in business that understand that environmental sustainability has to include long term economic sustainability.
That is why we, at Poverty Bay Coffee Company, believe that the farmers we buy from deserve a price that exceeds fair trade standards. After all, the farmers we buy from grow their coffee in a way that exceeds organic standards and have for many generations. We consider it a win-win situation and when you, as a consumer, buy our wonderful coffee it becomes a win-win-win situation.
Sustainability in relationship to we run Poverty Bay Coffee Company – We live in a time when doing all you can personally and as a business to reduce our carbon footprint is vital. No program is to small and every program makes a difference. The following are things we have done and things that we do on a daily basis that make our business more and more sustainable.