Continuing our series speaking to coffee leaders about their visions for building a better world through business, we hear from Andy Phillips, Operations Director of specialty roaster, Origin Coffee, on the impact B Corp is making on the UK's specialty coffee industry
Andy Phillips, Operations Director of the UK's specialty coffee roaster, Origin Coffee | Image credit: Origin Coffee
Specialty coffee roaster: UK
First B Corp certified: 2020
Current B Corp score: 81.9
B Corp is incredibly exciting for the UK specialty coffee industry because we have been missing a suitable direct trade certification. For years we have been frustrated that other ethical and sustainability certifications tend to be linear and focus on single issues.
Auditing direct trade supply chains to verify the claims of coffee companies is very complicated. B Corp gives us the granular detail we need to measure the many facets of our business, including the price paid for coffee, environmental sustainability, corporate governance, supply chain management, and community impact. For potential buyers of specialty coffee seeking relevant certifications, B Corp verifies all of these elements.
The B Corp audit process impelled us to examine our entire supply chain, gather paperwork and evidence exactly how we operate to prove the credibility of our ethical and sustainability claims. It has also highlighted the importance of formally documenting policy and procedures, such as human resources and employee guidelines, internally.
"B Corp gives us the granular detail we need to measure the many facets of our business"
It took around nine months for us to complete the audit process and we were recognised by B Corp as supporting under-represented coffee farmers in the developing world.
Origin Coffee works with farmers at the farm level, we agree farm gate and free on board (FOB) prices and we purchase coffee anywhere from $2.40/ lb all the way up to $20/lb.
But we believe Origin should be scoring higher and that is why we’ve decided to re-certify earlier than the typical three-year cycle. We are improving our energy and water usage monitoring and actively setting targets for waste reduction across our business.
We are also in the process of building a new roastery, where we are installing solar panels and aim to be completely energy self-sufficient. We are further seeking to reduce our operational waste by avoiding the use of excess packaging – all of which should significantly improve our score, especially around environmental sustainability.
This article was first published in Issue 5 of 5THWAVE magazine.
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