The 10 most sustainable coffee businesses in the United States

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

While most specialty coffee pros obsess over the transformative quality of the world’s favorite drupe, it’s not every day you find a roasting brand equally focused on the environment. And yet some forward-thinking coffee roasters and retailers are asking what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint — for good reason.

Experts tell us that climate change is already beginning to have a substantial impact on the coffee-producing regions of the world. As temperatures rise and weather patterns change, existing coffee lands could decrease in size by as much as 50 percent over the next three decades, say organizations such as Conservation International. As coffee farms move up mountains to escape rising temperatures, the resulting deforestation could exacerbate the problem even more.

Ironically, coffee is one of a number of industries that are aggravating the problem by producing large quantities of greenhouse gas (GHG). A 2012 study (PDF) that followed coffee from Costa Rica to Europe showed that 53 percent of GHGs produced by the coffee industry occur on the roaster side, in cafes, through activities such as heating water, turning on the lights and producing waste in the form of to-go materials.

The World Unites Behind the Green Economy—Most of It Anyway

Read the full story in Pacific Standard.

As President-elect Donald Trump seeks a quick exit from the Paris Climate Accord, the international community at the COP22 climate summit says the world will go forward regardless.

Developing products for a circular economy

Read the full story from McKinsey and Company.

Cross-functional collaboration and customer-focused design thinking can help companies reap more value from the energy and resources they use.

Trash to treasure: the social enterprises transforming recycling

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Convincing companies to buy back their own rubbish sounds like an unlikely business model – yet the Melbourne social enterprise Green Collect has found a way to make it work.

Companies in the city’s office towers pay Green Collect to take away hard-to-recycle waste. Green Collect then employs socially disadvantaged people to refashion it into something useful and then sells it back to the companies that threw it out. It’s a double whammy. As social enterprise expert Prof Jo Barraket says: “It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Social enterprises such as Green Collect exist to solve social, environmental, cultural or economic problems. They aim to be self-sustaining and at least 50% of their profits are ploughed back into their mission. “And that capacity of being able to find latent value is really a characteristic of all social enterprises,” says Barraket, director of the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne.

USDA, EPA Announce U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the inaugural class of the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, U.S. businesses and organizations pledging concrete steps to reduce food loss and waste in their operations 50 percent by 2030.

Champions announced include Ahold USA, Blue Apron, Bon Appétit Management Company, Campbell Soup Company, Conagra Brands, Delhaize America, General Mills, Kellogg Company, PepsiCo, Sodexo, Unilever, Walmart, Wegman’s Food Markets, Weis Markets and YUM! Brands.

“The founding 2030 Champions have shown exceptional leadership in the fight to reduce, recover and recycle food loss and waste,” said Vilsack. “The staggering amount of wasted food in the United States has far-reaching impacts on food security, resource conservation and climate change. To help galvanize U.S. efforts to reduce food loss and waste, USDA and EPA announced the first U.S. food loss and waste reduction goal in September 2015. Today, the first 15 Champions are stepping up to do their part to help the nation reach this critical goal.”

“Reducing food waste is good for business, it’s good for the environment, and it’s good for our communities,” said McCarthy. “We need leaders in every field and every sector to help us reach our food loss goal.  That’s why we’re excited to work with the 2030 Champions and others across the food retail industry as we work together to ensure that we feed families instead of landfills.”

In the United States, EPA estimates that more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in our everyday trash, about 21 percent of the waste stream. Keeping wholesome and nutritious food in our communities and out of landfills helps communities and the 42 million Americans that live in food insecure households. Reducing food waste also impacts climate change as 20 percent of total U.S. methane emissions come from landfills.

Each 2030 Champion establishes a baseline marking where they are today and will measure and report on their progress toward the goal in a way that makes sense for their organization. There are many ways to look at food loss and waste and definitions vary. 2030 Champions are encouraged to consult the Food Loss and Waste Protocol for information on defining and transparently measuring food loss and waste.

USDA’s Economic Research Service estimates that the amount of food that went uneaten at the retail and consumer levels in the baseline year of 2010 represented 31 percent of the available food supply, about 133 billion pounds of food worth an estimated $161.6 billion.

USDA research estimates that about 90 billion pounds comes from consumers, costing $370 per person every year. USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion produces a resource, called Let’s Talk Trash, which focuses on consumer education, highlighting key data and action steps consumers can take to reduce food waste.

How Avery Dennison Helps Global Brands Shrink Their Environmental Footprint

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Columbia Sportswear wanted an environmentally sustainable version of a clear plastic shipping bag for its new jacket.

Avery Dennison had a renewable version of the poly bag, made from sugar cane instead of petroleum-based plastic, on the drawing board.

Columbia approached the global packaging and label manufacturer for help and Avery Dennison went from prototype of the sugar-cane bag to finished product in six weeks.

“And when we looked at it from an environmental footprint of the product itself, it had a very favorable footprint,” said Helen Sahi, Avery Dennison’s senior director of sustainability. “On CO2 emissions, for example, it’s on the negative side because some of the byproduct of making the sugarcane resin is put back into the electric grid. We also looked at certification, how the suppliers were harvesting the sugar cane, whether they were growing it in the right areas, whether they were taking it out of the foodstream or not.”

This is one example of how Avery Dennison works with its customers — from fashion designers and apparel makers paper manufacturers — as well as its suppliers to rethink their approach to sustainable design and production.

Turning Today’s Ugly Fruit Into Tomorrow’s Delicious Juice

Read the full story in Fast Company.

Grocery stores waste an enormous amount of perfectly good fruits and vegetables because they don’t look good enough for people to buy. Food waste is gaining attention as a major global issue, and the entrepreneurs behind Misfit Juicery found a simple solution: The juice inside the ugly fruits is still delicious.