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Brief Published: 12 Sep 2014

Coffee With a Conscience

Thrive Farmers Coffee

A number of eco-aware brands are launching initiatives that meet a growing consumer demand for conscientious choices when it comes to coffee consumption.

American fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A recently debuted the quick-serve industry's first ever specialty-grade coffee at more than 1,800 of its US outlets. The specialty brew, certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, comes from a partnership with Thrive Farmers Coffee – a revenue-sharing network of family farmers across Central America. Payment to farmers in the network is not tied to volatile commodity markets, and can earn them up to 10 times more than traditional models.

Headquartered in Massachusetts, bakery and coffeehouse chain Dunkin' Donuts has introduced its first ever single-origin packaged coffee, which has been registered by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia. This is the brand's first coffee product to earn the Rainforest Alliance Seal.

Meanwhile, London-based start-up Bio-Bean aims to be the first closed-loop, industrial-scale, coffee-waste recycler. Founded in December 2013, the initiative sources coffee-bean refuse from commercial sources such as wholesale instant coffee manufacturers and coffee-waste aggregators, and extracts the oil to make a carbon-neutral biofuel.

For more on socially attuned coffee production, see Kenco's Coffee vs Gangs Campaign. Meanwhile, Sustainable Dining takes a broader look at the eco-aware dining landscape. For other important shifts in the coffee category, see Coffee: At-Home Innovation.