Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. In Australia, three in four people consume
at least a cup a day. Yet not all coffee is created equal. It begs the question, how easy is it to
drink an ethical cup of your favourite brew?
Research suggests 79% of coffee drinkers worry about the environmental impact of their habit. A brew of coffee with a conscience. That’s what most people are after. But there’s more to sustainable coffee than eco coffee pods, disposable cups or a stamp of approval on the packaging.
When it comes to coffee and eco coffee pods, the most important choice is how those beans are cultivated and their impact on surrounding ecosystems. Coffee’s life cycle begins with cultivation and harvest. As far as environmental impact is concerned, the cultivation process is the most important part to get right because of the damage it can create with poor land management and deforestation.
How your coffee beans are grown determines what certification they’ll get. Here are the three types of approvals and what sets them apart.
1. Organic Eco Coffee
It feels good to buy something with an ‘organic’ label. But what does it really mean? Sometimes
it’s hard to tell the difference between the real deal and marketing spins.
Organic coffee is a top option to use in eco coffee pods. It’s rich in flavour, free from nasty chemicals and has a better taste and consistency than non-organic coffee.
To ensure organic truly means organic, the coffee beans are tested under strict standards. They must be:
- Safe from pollutants and toxins
- Holistically grown and handled from an organic-certified producer
- Grown under water-saving shaded plantation methods, which are a rich source of oxygen for the environment and protects the coffee bean plants from insects, harsh weather and hazards
Organic certification tells coffee producers to be good to the earth. It asks for it to be left as
undisturbed as possible, whilst cultivating it to grow crops for a healthy ecosystem. Choosing
organic for your eco coffee cares for your own health, and indirectly supports natural farming
practices that are better for the environment.
Important: When buying beans for your eco coffee pods, look for the ‘certified organic’ label ,
rather than only the word ‘organic’.
Fair-trade eco coffee looks at different pillars of sustainability, rather than only the environmental
standards like organic does. It covers social, economical and environmental factors.
Fair-trade tackles poverty and helps producers in poorer countries. It gives growers guaranteed prices for their coffee beans, workers a fair wage and promotes responsible work ethics.
Yet, who decides what’s ‘fair’ and what’s not?
As well as organic, fair-trade has strict standards to abide by. Although its intention is to promote equality and growth for the coffee process and everyone involved. Eco coffee under ‘fair-trade’ works to deliver better conditions and produce globally through:
- Environmentally sustainable farming methods
- Building equitable partnerships between producers and coffee drinkers
- Fair and stable prices, under fair wages for workers and the costs of sustainable production
- Improved working conditions
- Focusing on minimising damage to the environment and affects on climate change
- Fair-trade, which prioritises small-scaled and family-owned farms
- Support of small producers and women farmers
- Support in gaining the knowledge and skills needed to operate successfully in the global economy
Did you know? Over 80% of fair-trade coffee is organic . Both fair and organic have the same
underlying principles; an ethically responsible coffee production. However, organic certification
doesn’t factor in fair prices or worker’s rights. Still, there are pros and cons of both. As fair-trade
is also known to come with its own setbacks .
3. Rainforest Alliance
Sealed with a frog, the symbol for environmental health, Rainforest Alliance targets agriculture,
forest and tourism concerns.
Coffee with this approval mostly comes from South American rainforests, growing only in renewables areas like the Amazon. It differs from fair-trade by their focus. Rainforest Alliance is concerned about how farms are managed, farm efficiency and conservation.
Rainforest Alliance coffee:
- Is environmentally-friendly
- Protects fertile soils, natural resources, endangered species and forest areas of high conservation value
- Reserves a portion of land as forest reserve
- Assists with climate change mitigation
- Promotes sustainability
- Benefits social and cultural development, local communities, farmers and coffee drinkers
Tip: Although similar to fair-trade, it’s important to note the Rainforest Alliance certificate doesn’t
include trade standards or have a minimum price for coffee beans, which can expose farmers to
There are two sides to high-quality coffee. The delicious, rich taste you crave, and how true
artisan coffee protects - not exploits, the environment and growers to get that perfect coffee
taste to you.
More ways you can drink greener coffee is through reusable coffee pods , cups and other products .Eco-friendly coffee pods reduce the waste you send to landfill, whilst allowing for better control of the taste and strength of your preferred beans.
For more information on eco coffee types or reusable pods, contact Pod Star today .