TrueStart is officially Carbon Negative! Yes, another one! We’re proudly jumping into a space which is filling up by the day with mindful businesses and we’re stoked 🥳
But what exactly is “Carbon Negative Coffee”?
The aim of this blog is not only to leave you with a head buzzing with new knowledge but also some questions that you can challenge us with.
We’re not perfect.. but, we’ll always be transparent and open to learning more.
So with that in mind let’s dive in 💦
WHATS THE SCORE?
Looks like gibberish? That’s what we thought too but we promise it’s simple - tCO2eq is the tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
IS THAT A LOT?
For our industry, not really no, it's actually quite low. According to the EPA’s equivalencies calculator, we only emit the same amount of carbon dioxide as 8.6 homes’ would from their yearly energy use 🤩
GREAT, BUT WHERE DID YOU START?
Sustainability has always been intrinsic to TrueStart so our decisions around all elements of our business have these foundations.
Every decision that we've ever made has always considered the environment. So it’s slightly easier for us because we’ve “grown up green”, we didn’t have to retrofit good practice onto ourselves 🌱
Some of our favourite ways we’ve kept our carbon footprint minimal are…
- We moved our drinks production to the South West rather than Europe, this has removed over 2.2 tonnes of CO2 for every small batch brewed.
- We use an epic family-run, female-led logistics company 2 miles down the road to fulfill your delicious orders.
- We never air-freight, all of our specialty grade coffee gets to us via boat.
- Our coffee chaff, which is the wasted husk of the bean, is reused as biofuel.
- 92.6% of our packaging by weight is recyclable and we’re working on making that as close to 100% as humanly possible.
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU'RE CARBON NEGATIVE?
With the help of Ecofye, an Earthshot Prize nominated company, we have measured our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions which gives us the most complete overall view as this examines all measurable elements of TrueStart’s usage.
WHAT'S A "SCOPE" AND WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?
Scope 1 includes all carbon emissions from your direct energy use (gas, fuel)
Scope 2 includes all carbon emissions from your indirect energy use (electricity, steam)
Scope 3 includes EVERYTHING ELSE! That could be the amount of carbon created on the rainy days we drive into the office, the amount we use delivering coffee to you, all the way to the paper we use to write you guys welcome notes.
Some companies choose to solely calculate their Scope 1 and 2 but don’t deep dive into their Scope 3, so their overall carbon calculation appears smaller than the reality.
As a team we decided it was important to work out absolutely everything so that our benchmark is comprehensive.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING FROM HERE?
We’re a small company working in our “end of the garden HQ” so our score of 68.41, even with Scope 3, is tiny for a coffee company!
This score will inform our reduction strategy for the future until we do it all over again next year to make sure we are still on track.
However we’re not blind to the fact that this score will be bigger in a year because we’re getting bigger 🚀
Why? Well simply put, with greater volume comes greater emissions in a carbon intensive industry such as coffee.
Lucky for us we’ve never shied away from a challenge, and growth means action…
- It means as we grow we’ll have a larger budget to invest in reducing our own emissions from our farming to our packaging.
- It means we’ll be able to challenge the status quo even more within our supply chain and lead future innovation.
- Most importantly, it means we’ll be able to have a wider positive impact on the coffee industry as a whole; as our business grows, so does our influence.This enables us to charge on with a movement to better coffee with other like minded brands.
LET'S TAKE A QUICK REFRESHER 🗒️
So by now hopefully you’ve understood that:
First - Sustainability has always been at the core of what we do and we've been minimising our carbon footprint since day one.
Second - We wanted to take this to the next level so Ecofye swooped in and calculated our carbon footprint. This gave us a better understanding of how we can be better moving forwards.
Third - Looking at that score, we are working on a strategy to reduce our carbon footprint even more; this means offsetting the carbon footprint we do create and some.. 120% of it!!
HOW DO YOU OFFSET 120% OF YOUR CARBON AND WHY?
Becoming Carbon Neutral wasn't enough for us, we wanted to take it further, become Carbon Negative and have a net positive impact on our planet.
We’ve kicked this process off by funding climate action projects set up by the most credible companies we know of.
But, we’re Team TrueStart and there’s no I in team, so we asked a bunch of you to help us choose what projects mean the most to you
The options we gave you all align with the Sustainable Development Goals that the UN has set out as a “to-do list” for individuals and companies to strive towards in order to achieve a healthier and more equitable world.
As a company we are hyper-focused on 8 SDGs, which are:
With these in mind, the results came back and we are buzzing to announce that we’ve invested in four incredible carbon removal and carbon avoidance projects in the countries that our coffee comes from…
- Forestry Project - Colombia. This one is super special as it’s the heartland for our coffee & where Helena used to live. As a carbon removal project it actually takes CO2 out of the atmosphere & this one supports local farmers, restores biodiversity & improves fresh water supply.
- Hydroelectric Energy Project - Honduras. This project is carbon avoidance focused, meaning it contributes to climate action by preventing carbon that would otherwise have been released into the atmosphere. It provides renewable energy which in turn reduces dependency on fuel wood, relieving deforestation pressures & improving access to electricity for local communities.
- Renewable Energy Project - Brazil. Another carbon avoidance project this has switched the fuel used in a factory from illegal sources to residues. Improving income and working conditions in local communities & avoiding nearly 133,000tons of CO2e.
- Biomass Power Project - India. Our final carbon avoidance project uses rice husks from local communities to make electricity, then the money generated provides a First Aid Health Center which provides education and a hand pump to Tada village.
Here ends your crash course in Carbon Negativity. One day we hope this is all second nature knowledge to everybody out there but for now we’re just extremely keen students in the school of sustainability!
We know that the coffee industry is far from perfect and this is just the beginning of our journey of improving it.
It’s a long road but understanding our emission hot spots and reacting to them with your help is a pretty awesome place to start!