July 2, 2010 – Vancouver, B.C. – Offsetters and Salt Spring Coffee Company, have announced Canada's first carbon-neutral coffee, the 400-gram bag of French Roast Nicaragua. Salt Spring Coffee decided to offset this coffee's carbon footprint from the farm to the consumer point of purchase otherwise known as "cradle to gate", as a result of the findings of a lifecycle analysis completed by Offsetters.
The study determined that there are 1,807 grams of carbon produced during the life of each bag of roasted coffee beans, the equivalent to that of running a refrigerator for 17 days in British Columbia or driving the average car five kilometres.
Lifecycle analysis is an extensive study that follows and maps a product from its infancy to the end of its life and measures its full climate impact. In determining the carbon footprint, Offsetters considered everything from farm practices in Nicaragua to shipping, roasting, brewing and even disposal to map every single step of the life of this particular bag of coffee.
"Salt Spring Coffee is leading the way in a marketplace where businesses are just beginning to understand the benefits of these complex environmental studies," said Donovan Woollard, senior vice president, strategy and operations, Offsetters. "Knowing the true climate impact of a product identifies waste and may result in changes that positively impact the environment and a company's bottom line."
Salt Spring Coffee's operations have been carbon neutral since 2007 and this product lifecycle analysis and the creation of their first carbon neutral coffee represents the company's ongoing commitment to reducing the climate impact of their business.
"Offsetters has always provided excellent guidance in our carbon management but working on this study has made us truly understand the level of their expertise," said Mickey McLeod, CEO, Salt Spring Coffee. "We were really surprised with the results of their work and decided offsetting the coffee's carbon footprint made sense for us and our customers."
A 400 gram bag of Salt Spring Coffee's French Roast Nicaragua retails from $13.99 to $15.49; the price has not increased, despite the added consumer benefit.
Five things about carbon and coffee
(based on results from the lifecycle of 400 grams of Salt Spring Coffee French Roast Nicaragua):
1. There are 1,807 grams of carbon produced during the life of a 400
gram bag of this coffee, which is equivalent to that of running a
refrigerator for 17 days in British Columbia or driving the average
car five kilometres;
2. Only two per cent of the carbon is from growing the coffee beans;
3. The consumer's portion of carbon emissions make up more than 60 per
cent of the entire footprint, 39 per cent for getting it home,
grinding and brewing and 24 per cent for disposal of the coffee and
4. Consumers brew 30 per cent more coffee than they drink which wastes
water, coffee and energy;
5. Coffee drinkers can reduce their portion of the carbon footprint by
brewing only what they will drink, composting coffee grounds and
getting creative with the coffee bag to reuse it as a planter or by
taking it to an environmentally responsible disposal site.
Non-fat, decaf, no foam, carbon-neutral coffee
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