Here at Balance Coffee, sustainability is at the core of everything we do – from our choice of speciality coffee to our delivery partners. Our founder James has stated before that drinking ethical and sustainable coffee is no longer a choice – and we stand by that. As consumers of coffee and as a business, we want to ensure that every cup of coffee that we drink positively affects people and the planet.
Right now more than ever, we need to be aware of the effects of our actions on other people and the planet. Even David Attenborough has decided to bring this message to our modern day world by launching his new Instagram account and show ‘Extinction’.
If you haven’t watched it already, you should! Sir David Attenborough tells the story of the issues we’re facing as well as the fact that experts believe that human destruction of wild animals’ habitats may have played a part in Covid-19.
What can we do to help? Are we doing enough?
This is just one of the things that our founder James thought about when he launched Balance Coffee during the Covid-19 lockdown.
After a period of reflection, here are just the beginnings of how Balance Coffee is contributing to people and our planet.
One of our biggest initiatives is planting trees along with our partners, Ecologi. They aim to plant one billion trees to help reduce the harmful effects of CO2. This will be hugely beneficial to the planet, because planting trees is one of the most effective strategies for reducing CO2 levels. This is because trees (and the entire ecosystem including wood, roots, leaves and soils) are basically huge carbon sinks, as plants use carbon dioxide to photosynthesise. To learn more about this process, head here.
By working with Ecologi, we are now a climate positive workforce. So far, we have helped them to plant 60 trees which is a CO2 reduction of 4.66T. This is a great start, especially given that we are helping to plant native trees in areas where they will thrive. This also creates woodland areas that are biodiverse, and therefore more resistant to pests, diseases, and the effects of climate change.
For example, the trees we have planted so far is helping to reforest Madagascar, as you can see in the photos below. Our trees are being planted in Avicennia Marina and Rhizophora Mucronata – both of which are mangrove trees native to Madagascar.
Donating to Charity
However, our sustainable initiatives don’t end there! We also think it is vital that, as a coffee company, we also help to give back to coffee farmers and their communities. That’s why every time you buy a bag of Balance Coffee, we donate 1% to Project Waterfall, a charity initiative bringing clean drinking water, sanitation and education to coffee growing communities.
785 million people around the world don’t have access to clean water and 1.6 million people die every year from water-related diseases. The majority live in isolated, rural areas – the same areas growing our coffee. We don’t think that it’s right that we enjoy pure, filtered water in our coffee whilst coffee farmers face a water crisis.
Our friends at Project Waterfall agree. Since 2011, they have raised over £1 million and changed more than 50,000 people’s lives in Nicaragua, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and more. Now their goal is to reach another 50,000 people with clean water – and we’re going to help them do it. Safe, clean water brings more than just drinking water – it also brings greater access to education, income and ultimately a better life. Communities can grow healthy food and start small businesses, while better toilet facilities increase school attendance.
This is an initiative that we are extremely passionate about – coffee shouldn’t just improve the lives of those who drink it, but also the people around the world who produce it, too.
Sourcing Ethical Coffee
All of our coffee beans are also sourced from cooperatives and direct trade relationships located all over the world. We purchase speciality grade coffee which accounts for just 3-4% of the total coffee consumed globally. We pay a higher price for this grade of coffee and not just because it tastes delicious – it also helps coffee farmers at origin, as it is sold at a fairer price than commodity coffee. It’s not a complete solution by any means, but we’re able to genuinely improve farmers’ livelihoods, whilst also helping to create a sustainable supply of coffee for the future.
Traceability plays a huge part in our ethical coffee as well. There’s a reason why all of our coffees are named after the regions or farms where they’re produced! That’s because we believe that coffee should be fully transparent about the farm and region where it is grown, and the altitude in which the coffee is grown as well.
If you’d like to learn more, check out our blog ‘a guide to buying ethical coffee’.
UK Coffee Week
Finally, from the 19th to the 25th of October, we will be involved in and celebrating UK Coffee Week. This is an initiative that has brought coffee shops, roasters and consumers together for the past 10 years. This year, they will also be raising funds for Project Waterfall. 100% of funds raised during this year’s UK Coffee Week will support Project Waterfall’s work in the rural Jabi Tehnan district of Ethiopia. This project, which began in 2018 with partners WaterAid, will provide clean water and sanitation to over 10,000 people.
There are so many ways that we want to help improve people’s lives and the planet we live on. At Balance Coffee we believe that these initiatives are just the beginning. You can read more about our sustainable practices within the roastery here.
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