Sustainable Coffee: From Bean to Brew
April 22, 21
By Alisha Whitley

Sustainable Coffee: From Bean to Brew

April 22, 21

Global coffee production creates in excess of 23 million tons of waste per year. We believe it’s time for that to change. That’s why everything we do is rooted in finding eco-friendly solutions that make a positive impact on people, wildlife, and the planet. From bean to brew, here’s how we stay sustainable every step of the way.

Sustainable Agroforestry

Gorongosa National Park’s rainforest is one of the most biodiverse places in the world, rich in a wide variety of plants, animals, and other life. However, over the past 15 years, 30% of the rainforest has been depleted due to civil war and subsistence farming. Today, this diverse ecosystem is being revived by programs that teach principles of sustainable agroforestry to local farmers.

coffee farming

On the coffee side, we work with 600 farmers who use regenerative agriculture techniques to grow shade-grown coffee in the heart of the Park’s rainforest. They plant native hardwood trees alongside their coffee plants to provide necessary shade and restore the ecosystem around them. Their crops are rain fed (eliminating the need for excess water usage), they do not use any herbicides or pesticides, and they compost coffee waste to regenerate the soil.

Watch the video below to learn more about sustainable agroforestry from our CEO, Matt Jordan!

Keeping it Local

We process, sort, and grade our green bean coffee right in Gorongosa National Park, using the latest technology to conserve water and reduce waste at every stage. Keeping our processing local not only reduces our carbon footprint, it also allows for more profit to funnel into human development and conservation programs, and provides greater employment opportunities and skill development for communities around the Park.

sorting coffee

Once processed, a portion of our green beans are roasted in the Park for the Mozambican market and the remainder is shipped by ocean freight and overland to our specialty roasting partners in the UK and the US. If a seed hasn’t been processed or roasted, it can be replanted for a later season’s harvest!

Direct Trade

We have one-on-one relationships with our farmers and purchase green coffee beans directly from them, without intermediaries, at fair market value. We also add a price floor to ensure they earn enough for stable — and sustainable — livelihoods. On average, they earn close to 10x the income from growing coffee than they would from their previous agricultural practices.

coffee farmers

We also work to strengthen the economic system our farmers depend on for success, including improved access to finance, markets, and inputs. One of the most exciting programs we have is a village-based agent program where farmers can source inputs such as seeds and farming implements. Our aim is to improve the inclusivity and sustainability of these systems so we can generate larger margins for farmers and greater opportunities for entrepreneurs over time.

Specialty Coffee

Why stop there? We discovered that roasting our beans and selling specialty coffee could make an even bigger impact for our farmers, their communities, and ecosystems. Here’s how it works.

Our sole shareholder is the Gorongosa Trust which funds the Park’s human development and conservation activities. Each of our specialty blends is earmarked for a particular impact area: girls’ education, wildlife conservation, and/or rainforest reforestation. The Trust takes the profits from each blend and distributes them to the corresponding department in the Park.

Dominique elephant research

We trust that the teams on the ground in Gorongosa have the deepest understanding of where these funds are most needed. We leave it up to them to allocate the profits they receive to the resources and activities that will be most impactful. That means the profits from every purchase are optimized to best serve the needs of Gorongosa’s communities, wildlife, and ecosystems!

Our holistic approach to sustainability ensures we are making a positive difference at every step. Together, we’re on our way to creating a world where people and the planet can thrive together!

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