Last Thursday, Cynnal Cymru hosted our first shared learning event of 2017 around the theme of Coffee and Community. The event which took place in Cardiff Metropolitan University brought together three speakers around one key theme – Coffee and addressed the subject from three different angles – Source, Society and Ground.
Size of Wales
The first speaker was the Director of Size of Wales climate change charity, Claire Raisin who spoke about the supply chain of tea and coffee around the world. Size of Wales is a charity that aims to sustain a tropical rainforest twice the size of Wales, to prevent deforestation with the aim to mitigate climate change. Claire began the event by discussing the global consequences of actions taken by people in Wales demonstrating the power of the consumer. Claire promoted certifications which provide an accreditation for products which undertake ethical practices such as Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance. A commitment to purchasing Fairtrade coffee can have big consequences throughout the supply chain and improve the lives of coffee farmers in developing countries. The Welsh Government has been committed to purchasing Fairtrade since 2008, when Wales became the first Fairtrade nation. This has consequently led to Ferrari’s, the oldest coffee company in Wales sourcing Fairtrade Coffee to supply the coffee for the Welsh Government. Many developing countries throughout the world rely on coffee production for a significant proportion of their income, in fact 125 million people throughout the world relying on coffee for their livelihoods however the profit is not fairly distributed throughout the supply chain. Coffee is a very susceptible to weather, disease and climate change and therefore Size of Wales support specific projects around the world. One of their projects is in Mbale in East Uganda where agriculture is their primary economic activity and 80% of the population live in poverty. Size of Wales works with MBALE Coalition Against Poverty to support female coffee growers to work and bring in an income so they can have a say on how their family income is spent. Climate change, deforestation and coffee are inexplicably interlinked. At current rates, we will continue to need more land to grow coffee which is likely to cause deforestation. It is therefore important to make informed decisions about the coffee we purchase every day.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
Cardiff Metropolitan University have taken the initiative to try and reduce the amount of coffee cups sent to landfill. After it was revealed in 2016 that only one in 400 coffee cups are recycled in the UK as coffee cups consist of a difficult-to- recycle mix of paper and plastic, the university has decided to introduce refillable cups. Every year the UK throws away about 2.5 billion coffee cups so they are encourage students to purchase and then reuse a plastic reusable cup on campus. Students and staff who purchase the cups and bring a clean cup with them to the shops on campus will receive a 10% discount on the tea and coffee purchased. The catering team and sustainability group within the university hope this will reduce the waste that is sent to landfill. They achieved a first in the People and Planet green league last year, coming first for the most sustainable University in Wales.
Green Cup are a full service coffee supplier which operate under a circular economy framework – they roast the coffee and recycle the products. From its inception, Green Cup coffee wanted to take responsibility for their supply chain. Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world after oil with individuals in the UK drinking on average 3kg each of coffee a year. One cup of coffee produces 50g worth of Carbon Dioxide with most of the CO2 being produced during the growing process. The business focus of Green Cup is recycling the coffee waste and upcycle the waste in to materials and products that will last a long time. Google were Green Cups first client where a Coffee Laboratory was set up in the offices with coffee machines and tables made out of recycled coffee beans. Customers of Green Cup also include pubs in the Gower in Wales and Wyevale Garden Centres across the UK where the cafes have been transformed in to a space where people understand where their coffee comes from and how to use the waste products. Green cup is an entirely different coffee company that encourages suppliers to look at the whole picture of coffee and embrace doing things differently.
Attendees at the event included business owners of local coffee shops around Wales, university and college catering teams and biotech companies interested in finding out more how to undertake more responsible and sustainable practices. The event was one of the shared learning events hosted by Cynnal Cymru on current, relevant issues in Wales and provided an opportunity for discussion and networking. The Coffee event was recorded by BBC Radio Wales and a radio show about coffee presented by Simon Wright will be on Radio Wales on Saturday 22nd November.
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