Coffee emits more CO2 than you think...
... but it doesn't have to be that way.
Read how we reduced the CO2 emissions of our coffee by +90%
HOW WE DID IT:
If your company is serious about responsibility and green transition, then you are definitely working to reduce your climate footprint.
Here, a lot is saved by switching to a responsible and CO2-neutral coffee.
Our coffee IMPACT No. 01 is not just CO2-neutral. It meets the net-zero standard with a CO2 reduction of +90%.
We helped our customer save +100 tonnes of CO2 in the first six months – just by changing the coffee.
Verified by FORCE Technology
The GTS institute FORCE Technology has reviewed and verified our many data sets, so that we - and those who buy and enjoy IMPACT No. 01 - with peace of mind knowing that the coffee is verified CO2-neutral according to the Net-Zero Standard.
The difference is big
10.19 kg vs. 0.38 kg
That is the difference between the CO2 emissions of a comparable conventional coffee and then the CO2 emissions from IMPACT NO. 01.
Or in other words: IMPACT No. 01 emits 3.8% CO2 compared to conventional coffee per kilo roasted and delivered coffee.
Net-zero dictates that with CO2 neutrality, a maximum of 10% of emissions must be compensated, and that limit is IMPACT No. 01 far below.
It is too easy to become CO2 neutral
Here is the easy recipe
It may be a little controversial, but after working to reduce our CO2 emissions since 2019, we still allow ourselves to have a healthy skepticism about some of the concepts surrounding CO2 emissions.
One of our positions is that it IS too easy to make a product, production or, in general, an entire company CO2-neutral:
Simply calculate your CO2e emissions and then buy CO2e quotas to compensate. Wupti, now you are CO2 neutral. Easy, right?!
Because CO2-neutral is only about breaking even at the end of the accounts. What you emit along the way, you can "simply" compensate for by planting trees or other things that absorb CO2. Trees are cheap, by the way, so it's not expensive either.
Compensation with consideration
Our CO2 compensation is used for a very wide range of projects all over the world, all of which have proven effectiveness in reducing or avoiding the emission of Co2e.
The projects have all been Verified Carbon Standard certified through VERRA. The selection of projects is guided by their Climate Committee and follows the Project Drawdown framework.
Net-zero vs. CO2 neutral
We take our climate impact seriously, and we have made an active effort over several years to first reduce our CO2 footprint on cultivation, transport, packaging and roasting.
We want to live up to the standards for net-zero - and that is immediately a bit more advanced:
In order to meet the requirements for net-zero, we must first reduce the min. 90% of the CO2e footprint - and then we compensate for the emissions we cannot avoid.
CO2-neutral is good - but not good enough
That is why we are also proud that we have just launched our first CO2-neutral coffee, verified by FORCE Technology. And the coffee is even CO2-neutral according to the Net-Zero Standard - not the easy version.
It is the recipe that seems most logical to us. Even if it is not the lightest.
Follow the steps below to read how we did it:
The coffee farm
The coffee starts its journey towards good taste and CO2 neutrality at the Fazenda Santa Clara coffee farm, which is part of the B Corp certified cooperative Sancoffee in Brazil.
Santa Clara's CO2-negative report from the consulting firm "Grön" can be read here: GRÖN Report: Fazenda Santa Clara
Sancoffee has been dedicated to working with responsibility since the cooperative was established in 2000. As a certified B Corp, they work purposefully to continuously strengthen all three bottom lines; the environmental, the social and the economic.
In 2020, Sancoffee measured and compensated its CO2 emissions for their warehouse and office for the first time. They thus became the first CO2-neutral coffee cooperative in Brazil.
As a natural next step, Sancoffee carried out a CO2 analysis for two of their total of 20 coffee farms. The results were inspiring, as both the large and the small farm chosen were CO2 negative. This means that the farms absorb more CO2 than they emit.
In 2022, Sancoffee went even further and carried out a similar analysis for all 20 farms. All farms are now documented and certified CO2-negative - including Fazenda Santa Clara, which IMPACT No. 01 is grown on.
Included in the calculation is cultivation on the farm, processing of the coffee berries, packaging in coffee sacks and storage of the beans at the cooperative, as well as transport to the ship.
In this way, the CO2 emissions on the coffee farm are calculated at 0 kilos.
Our current (2023) container with IMPACT No.01 is sailed from the port of Santos via Morocco to end in Hamburg. The container then arrives on a new ship that sails to the port in Aarhus, where the coffee is unloaded on pallets.
The pallets are transported by truck to our roastery in Fillerup, which is 26.5 km away.
This is the most energy-efficient, but also the slowest way to transport coffee from the country of production, Brazil.
We can always follow the exact route, so we can calculate the emissions and then compensate 100% precisely for the transport from the country of production to our roastery.
We use Geodis to calculate the CO2 emission during transport, and it amounts to 0.054 kg of Co2 per kilo of green beans.
The primary reason our emissions are lower than standard transport is that Sancoffee has included road transport from farm to warehouse and to port in its absorption of CO2 at the farm level.Source
We roast all our coffee on our own coffee roaster in our own roastery. It would be easier, faster and cheaper to hire a large industrial roastery, but we want to maintain an extremely high quality in production and we want to have control over all parts of the process.
In 2020, we invested in one of the world's most energy-efficient coffee roasters, a Loring S15 Falcon . With a patented technology to transfer the heat to the raw coffee beans, it uses about 20% of the energy that our previous, traditional drum roasters did. Again, it's good for the environment - and not least for your wallet and ours.
The roasting process requires two forms of energy; gas and electricity.
We use LP gas from Kosangas and CO2-neutralized electricity from Vinstød. And yes, we know that the electricity that comes out of our sockets is not greener than other electricity, but that it has been compensated, this is a condition in a country like Denmark. At least for now. We have a dream of putting solar cells on the roof and being self-sufficient in electricity for production - and the roastery in general - and we will probably get there.
Our calculations of emissions of CO2 per kilo of roasted coffee is based on data from Kosangas and The World LPG Association. Their data highlights, 1 kg of LPG during ignition emits 1.59 kg of water and 2.93 kg of CO2.
For roasting the coffee beans, we use 0.05 kg of gas per kilo of roasted coffee. This results in emissions of 0.147 kg CO2 per kilo of roasted coffee. In addition, we use 0.009 kg CO2 on electricity and 0.0036 kg CO2 on the beans "degassing" per kilo of roasted coffee.
Overall, this is an emission of 0.16 kg CO2 per kilo of roasted coffee.
In addition to the bag, our CO2 calculation consists of the coffee label itself, which is made of the same PE material as the coffee bag, as well as shipping label, tape and cardboard packaging for shipping.
In 2020/21, we carried out an extensive packaging project together with the consultancy company WorldPerfect. The process was, among other things, a review of existing and potential packaging, both in relation to the purely practical use and at the same time an assessment of the CO2 emissions. You can read more about our results in our Packaging Strategy .
Our packaging emits 0.167 kilos of CO2 per kilos of roasted coffee, we send.Source
We exclusively use PostNord to pick up packages and pallets of coffee from us and deliver the coffee to you.
We have customers all over the country - and abroad - so we have taken as a starting point an average consideration based on the fact that the coffee is transported from our roastery in Fillerup to Copenhagen. The CO2 calculation is made with Geodis' calculator.
Transport from the roastery to you in Copenhagen emits 0.022 kg of Co2 per kilos of roasted coffee we deliver. Since PostNord states that they have reduced their C02 emissions by 73% compared to standard road transport by using biodiesel and other operational optimizations, we end up with a C02 emission of 0.00594 kg per kilos of coffee we transport.
About the comparison
A review of greenhouse gases in a complete value chain is complicated. There are many opinions about how much CO2 coffee emits at different stages.
You can find sources with a lower emission, and sources that claim that coffee emits much more.
When we compare our coffee with a comparable conventional coffee - what do we mean by that?
See an overview of which numbers we based our comparison on.
On the farm
There is a big difference in CO2 emissions from different types of agriculture. When we have to compare our coffee with another coffee, we cannot use a coffee from a completely different type of agriculture.
Therefore, the comparison is made with Mesoamerican coffee grown monoculturally, without shade. So a type of production that is very similar to the production of IMPACT No. 01.
At farm level, a comparable conventional coffee thus emits 9 kg of CO2-e per kg. green beans.Source
From farm to port via truck, from port to port via ship, and from port to warehouse and from warehouse to roastery via truck.
In total, conventional coffee emits 0.27 kg of CO2 per kg. green beans.Source
When the green beans arrive in Europe, they must be roasted.
Conventional coffee roasters are not particularly energy efficient and use natural gas and electricity.
According to The Eco Guide, roasting coffee emits 0.54 kg of CO2 per kg. coffee. It agrees with our own measurements from the time we used a drum grater ourselves.Source
The roasted coffee is packed in bags with a label and sent by post in a cardboard box with tape and a shipping label.
In total, we use 37 g of plastic and one cardboard box of 150 g to send one kilo of coffee. We therefore assume a similar use for a conventional coffee.
The total CO2 emission here is 166.8 g CO2 per kilo of coffee.
In our case, the coffee bags are compensated by the manufacturer with Gold Standard Certification - but we do not expect this compensation with the conventional coffee.
From the roastery, the coffee is shipped out to consumers.
For our calculation, we have assumed a shipment from our roastery to Copenhagen.
Here, standard freight by truck will emit 0.022 kg of CO2 per kilo of coffee.
For our example, we have calculated the emissions from transport by truck via Geodis.comSource
When all these items are added together, a single kilo of coffee adds up to 10.19 kg of CO2.
It is worth noting that this discharge is only from the farm and to the coffee beans are forwarded by the customer.
From here, there will be further emissions when the coffee is brewed and the coffee grounds are disposed of.
As mentioned, there is a great deal of disagreement about the emission of CO2 from coffee:
According to Nab & Maslin (2020), one kg emits. coffee 15.33 kg. CO2
Humbert et. eel. (2009) believe it is only 3.18 kg. CO2
According to8billiontrees.com, it is a total of 17 kg. CO2
For this comparison, we have used the sources which, in our opinion, were most accurate and most comparable to IMPACT No. 01.
We keep ourselves continuously updated within the field and will adjust our numbers going forward if new research requires it.