How you can create a positive impact by drinking sustainable coffee

Sustainable Coffee – Emme Mac Black

Sustainable coffee. It’s a popular term used in coffee circles, but what does it really mean? And what steps can you take to support sustainable coffee practices, which in turn help protect the environment and the future of our planet?

What does sustainable coffee mean?

While ‘sustainability’ is a popular buzzword today, sustainable coffee is not a new concept. In fact, it’s been a prominent concern in the coffee industry for many years. 

Coffee is mostly grown in tropical regions, and when farmers want to expand their plantations the easiest thing for them to do is cut down more surrounding forest. Additionally, the processing of coffee is a water-intensive exercise, plus the wastewater can potentially contaminate rivers and streams. Combined, these practices soon become unsustainable.

In contrast, sustainable coffee is grown in a way that conserves our natural resources and provides better livelihoods for the producers. It incorporates practices such as better crop management and water usage, using pheromone boxes instead of pesticides, composting coffee bean waste into fertilizer, along with shade-growing and reforestation.

Adopting sustainable coffee practices ensures that we meet the environmental, economic and social needs of today without compromising the needs of future generations. 

Today, there is a worldwide movement to adopt sustainable coffee practices, where growers, traders, roasters and retailers are united in providing high quality coffee that safeguards our environment and ensures that producers are treated and compensated fairly.

How can you support sustainable coffee practices?

Sipping on a delicious coffee is a daily ritual for over 19 million Australians. By choosing a coffee brand that is committed to sustainable coffee cultivation, you’re already making a positive impact on the environment, the producers and their communities.

So, how can you further incorporate sustainability into your everyday coffee consumption?


Look for coffee that is ethically sourced, organic or has the Fairtrade tick of approval

Take a few seconds to explore your favourite coffee brand. Is their coffee responsibly grown? Does the brand work with farmers to ensure the coffee production process is beneficial to their business, community and the environment?

Does your favourite coffee brand offer certified organic coffee [link to Misty-Mac Page]? This is coffee that is grown without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers. It’s grown using renewable resources which helps to conserve soil, water and forests.

Has your coffee been ‘Fairtrade’ certified [link to Compostable Capsules Page]? This means it’s produced in accordance with a strict set of standards that encourage environmental sustainability. It also ensures that the people involved in producing the coffee are treated and compensated fairly.  

Understanding how your coffee is produced is really important. Knowing that it is ethically sourced, organic or Fairtrade certified reassures you that the production process has not involved practices such as deforestation, water pollution, the use of GMO’s and harmful pesticides, nor forced or child labour.

Ethically sourced coffee is at the core of our Emme Mac Black coffee brand. Through our roaster’s sustainable buying program, we ensure the production of our coffee has a positive impact on the people and communities who are involved at every stage of the supply chain.

Have a capsule machine at home? Switch to compostable capsules

There has been a huge rise in coffee capsule popularity since its humble beginnings in 1986. It’s a simple, easy way to brew delicious coffee at home.

However, these convenient little coffee bursts are not always great for the environment.  This is because the majority of coffee capsules are made from a combination of aluminium and plastics, which means they’re not biodegradable. 

In fact, these capsules can take between 150 and 500 years to break down in landfill. When you consider there are 20 billion coffee capsules produced globally every year – 39,000 every second – this is quite a daunting combination.

The good news is, in recent years there have been a range of developments to create environmentally friendly alternatives. 

Here at Emme Mac Black, providing compostable capsules is a practice we’ve always embraced. And we’re about to take it one step further, moving from industrially compostable coffee capsules to ones you can compost at home. This will make it much easier for our customers to reduce waste and support a more sustainable waste management cycle, while still enjoying their favourite brew.

Want to be the first to know when our home compostable capsules are available? Subscribe to our email list and we’ll keep you updated on the launch.

BYO reusable coffee cup

While it’s super convenient to grab a coffee on the go from your favourite café, drinking it in a disposable cup is actually terrible for the environment.

This is because most disposable coffee cups contain a thin layer of plastic. While this helps protect your hands from burning, the plastic isn’t biodegradable and can’t be recycled.  

According to Choice, “Planet Ark says that about 60,000 kilos of plastic waste from coffee cups is directed to landfill each year in Australia”. 

This is a big number; a number that we can actively reduce by simply consuming our take away coffee in a reusable cup.

Get to know your favourite coffee brand

Sustainable coffee extends beyond the growing and cultivation production process. It encompasses the entire supply chain – from farmer to consumer.

This is where a little bit of research goes a long way. Take a look at your favourite coffee brand’s website.  Do they take a sustainable approach in all their business practices?

Here at Emme Mac Black, sustainability is at the heart of our business. From our ethically sourced coffee to our considered processes and careful selection of products and packaging, even our office stationery is made from recycled coffee cups!

Very importantly, our sustainable mindset extends to our business partnerships. Working closely with like-minded businesses, we ensure that every cup of coffee you savour is deliciously good, while not costing the planet.

We also understand that the concept of sustainable coffee can sometimes seem too big to be tackled by one person alone. But together, by following these simple daily steps, we make a huge positive impact. 

Now, that’s cause for celebration – go brew yourself a delicious sustainable coffee!

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