#EthicalHour Roundup – Making Our Coffee Habits GreenKate Stuart
Kate Stuart is an artist, craftswoman and writer based in the North East of England. Owner of The Phoenix Green Store, she is currently in the process of transforming it into Newcastle Upon Tyne’s first zero waste shop. She handles the magazine’s Twitter account every Monday evening from 8pm GMT for #EthicalHour.
Ethical Hour, an hour long global discussion held on Twitter every Monday evening and led by Sian Conway, the founder of #EthicalHour, never fails to make me think. Tonight was no exception – a conversation about coffee, sponsored by Coromandel Coast, who describe themselves as “a small batch roastery aiming to put Indian speciality coffee on the map“, where the questions asked really sparked a realization in me that I don’t really know how ethical/green my coffee is, and worse still, before tonight, had very little idea of how to find out. We are right at the beginning of UK Coffee Week, and one of the main questions that was being asked tonight was #WhoMakesMyCoffee and how can coffee producers make it easier for us to find this out.
As with all business now, consumers are calling for transparency and accountability – a balance of trust between the information shared by the producers along the supply chain so that all parts of the whole are aware of each other. Tonight we talked about a call for clear branding that signposts consumers to accessible information which backs up fair trade/eco claims so that when we’re buying coffee, be it for our homes or in a coffee shop, we know that it’s been produced by a business that is responsible for people and planet, and doesn’t put profit ahead of either.
We discussed coffee cups too – since the BBC’s Blue Planet and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s War on Waste, single use coffee cups have been hugely highlighted for the devastating impact they have on our planet, so it’s not surprising that they turned up in tonight’s conversation. With discounts available in so many coffee shops and cafes for customer’s who bring their own mug, there are monetary incentives too, so it’s certainly worth considering buying a reusable mug to lessen your impact on the planet.
I learnt a lot this evening, and will certainly be asking more questions of the brands I buy my tea and coffee from – perhaps you could too?
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