The UK specialty coffee roaster and direct trade pioneer has become the latest coffee company to attain coveted B Corp certification in recognition of its commitment to ethical and sustainable business practices
Jeremy Torz, Managing Director and Founder, Union Hand Roasted Coffee (centre) upon the launch of Ethiopian Yayu Wild Forest coffee | Photo credit: Alan Schaller / Emily Garthwaite / Union Hand Roasted Coffee
Union Hand Roasted Coffee has announced its certification as a B Corp. The UK-based specialty coffee roaster and direct trade pioneer scored a remarkable 106.3 out of a possible 200 points in recognition of its longstanding commitment to ethical trade, environmental sustainability and community-minded business practices.
To certify as a B Corp, companies undergo a rigorous audit process across five areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers, and achieve an overall score of 80. Globally, over 4,900 companies have been certified so far, with the average company scoring 50.9 according to B Corp.
Writing on social media, Jeremy Torz, Managing Director and Founder, Union Hand Roasted Coffee, said: ‘Twenty years ago, Steven [Macatonia] and I saw at first-hand how broken the global coffee market was; how the mass market of low expectation, low price and commoditised nature of coffee was failing successive generations of producer families,’
‘We vow to continue leading where others may follow and are delighted that aspects of direct trade are permeating across the hospitality sector. More than traceable, we focus on transparency, long term relationships and the inherent power of communities to raise themselves up with a loyal shoulder to lean on’.
Union’s certification comes hot on the heels of global coffee pod giant, Nespresso
, and UK-based oatmilk and ready-to-drink coffee brand, Minor Figures
, which both announced B Corp certification in April 2022.
Union was founded by Jeremy Torz and Steven Macatonia in 2001 with the aim of improving coffee farmer livelihoods through fair prices and elevated coffee quality. The company later developed its pioneering Union Direct Trade sourcing approach and introduced it to the UK market.
The specialty roaster now works with more than 40 producer partners of mostly smallholder farmers from 14 countries across Africa and Latin America, representing 13,000 family farms and around 65,000 individuals.
According to the company’s 2021 Annual Impact Report, Union paid its producer partners on average 36% above the Fairtrade minimum price of $1.60/lb and 18% above the average international world market price of $1.84/lb. It also paid $1m through price premiums for high-quality coffee to be invested back into coffee producing communities.