Monday, July 17, 2006

Coffee Drinkers Fight Global Warming!

Activists are increasingly becoming aware of their economic power. By buying products that support their values and supporting companies that are attempting to do business in a more ethical manner, activists are having an impact.

Coffee drinkers like me have become aware in recent years of the hardships faced by coffee bean farmers around the world who were living in poverty despite hard labor. Now we are also becoming aware of how the agricultural sector contributes to global warming. Fair Trade Coffee is a way to support the coffee farmers and help them receive fair prices for their crops. Some Fair Trade coffee producers like Dean's Beans are also improving coffee production to reduce CO2 emissions.

Read more about how Fair Trade is helping alleviate poverty.

Colorado State Fair Trade Research Group

View the trailer of the film, "Buyer Be Fair."

What better way to start the day with a good cup of coffee that you know helped reduce poverty and CO2 emissions. I'll pay a little more for that!

Green Mountain Coffee is a company that does a lot to help its farmers. So does Equal Exhange which also sells fair trade teas and chocolates.

My favorite, however, (and I do not receive any commissions on this) is Dean's Beans. Please read how Dean is working to change coffee production to reduce CO2 emissions.

We are working on a program to become a fully carbon neutral company by the end of the year. More about that later. Right now, we are launching a new coffee and concept, NoCO2, to fight Global Warming one cup at a time, and to show our customers that we both contribute to the problem by simple acts every day and that we can also address the issue with simple acts.

We calculated the total carbon load generated by a pound of coffee, from growing, harvesting and processing, to shipping roasting, shipping to you and brewing your coffee at home. This took a long time and required help from Trees for the Future, UPS, World Resources Institute and Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (thanks to all!). Seventeen pounds of coffee generates about fifty pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. We also found that one hardwood in the Tropics of Coffee sequesters about fifty pounds of CO2 annually. So we have devised a program to plant one tree in Pangoa Cooperative for every 17 pounds of NoCO2 Peruvian coffee consumed by you, our loyal customers. This is not a joke or a clever, meaningless marketing ploy. It is a real attempt to take our responsibility seriously, and help consumers take theirs seriously as well.

We have begun the project with the Ashaninkas indigenous farmers of Pangoa, whose land was denuded by illegal logging in the 1980's. They have chosen the species, tornillo, which grows about fifty feet tall over time and provides shade, critical migratory bird habitat, and when properly managed provides "social security for our grandchildren" in the form of a harvestable forest product, according to Esperanza Castillo, the manager of Pangoa.

NoCO2 will be available on the web in the medium roast section. Give it a try and see if this hot coffee can help cool the planet.

Dean's Beans is also supporting New York State Labor-Religion Coaltion's Fair Trade Project.

If you buy Dean's Beans coffee, you can hit two birds with one stone and also support the Labor-Religion Coalition by typing "LCR" into the promotion code before you check out.
Dean will reimburse the Labor-Religion Coalition a portion of each sale.