On September 8, 2016, Salt Spring Coffee was one of just 143 companies around the world named Best for Environment in B the Change Media’s 2016 Best for the World lists.
Now in its fifth year, the Best of Environment list recognizes those businesses that are creating the most positive environment impact in the global B Corp community. Salt Spring Coffee had made the Best for the World list twice, 2012 and 2016. Honourees scored in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations based on an independent and comprehensive assessment administered by the nonprofit B Lab.
“To have our sustainability efforts recognized within this global community of incredible businesses is truly an honour,” says Salt Spring Coffee co-founder Mickey McLeod. “We couldn’t be more proud.”
Our journey to now
For two decades, sustainability and social responsibility have been an integral part of the Salt Spring Coffee story.
In 2012, we launched the Fair to Farmer program to encompass all of Salt Spring Coffee’s fair-trade practices—from our direct-trade relationships with an international network of small-scale coffee growers and co-operatives, to our Institute for Marketecology (IMO) Fair for Life certification. Together, these initiatives ensure that human rights are guaranteed at every stage of our coffee’s production, that workers enjoy good and equitable working conditions, and that coffee farmers receive a fair share.
That same year, we became the first Canadian coffee company to join 1% for the Planet. Since then, we have donated at least 1% of every Salt Spring Coffee purchase to nonprofit environmental organizations and sustainability initiatives, with an emphasis on organic farming both at coffee origin and closer to home. Through that program, we’ve done things like provide solar panels to Nicaraguan farms, help build a coffee cupping lab for the Bukonzo Joint Co-operative Union in Uganda and facilitate the purchase of a delivery truck for Sole Food Farms here in Vancouver.
We also teamed up with LOCO BC, a local business alliance, to help reduce landfill waste. Together, we created the Zero Hero program, which provides businesses with tools to reduce their waste and greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. In addition to running a pilot program with businesses like Edible Canada, Uprising Breads Bakery and University Golf Course, we took part in the challenge ourselves. In 2015, we diverted 93% of our waste from landfills and sent all of our roasting by-products (chaff, coffee grounds and burlap bags) to local organic farmers or composting facilities.
In 2015, we launched Salt Spring Coffee’s first annual Corporate Social Responsibility Report, which outlines key sustainability efforts and documents our performance on key metrics. It’s a chance for us to be transparent with our customers and invite discussion on the issues that matter most to them.
What lies ahead
As Salt Spring Coffee accepts this Best for Environment honour and reflects on 20 years of world-changing coffee, we know two things for certain: our sustainability story is just getting started, and the best is yet to come.