in which the amount of greenhouse gasses produced has been reduced to nothing or is balanced by actions that protect the environment
What does it mean to become carbon neutral?
To become carbon neutral, a business calculates the greenhouse gas emissions generated by its operations and then works to reduce these as much as possible through investing in new technologies or developing new processes. Any remaining emissions are then offset by purchasing carbon credits. Carbon credits are generated by projects that prevent, reduce, or remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. Once the business reduction strategies and offset purchases are equal to the emissions that it produces – they are considered to be carbon-neutral.
How did we become carbon-neutral? The first step was making the commitment to become carbon neutral - we then had to prepare our carbon inventory. A carbon inventory is a detailed record of a business’ operations and the greenhouse gasses emitted as result of these activities. The scope of FTA Coffee’s carbon neutral product certification for the coffee we import included all of the emissions from our local operations as well as those associated with the green coffee itself. Local sources of emissions included our electricity and gas usage, employee commuting, local couriers for shipping samples, and waste – amongst others. As we decided to make sure the green coffee was carbon-neutral, we also had to conduct a lifecycle analysis of the coffee itself – detailing all the emissions from the farm right through to delivery at our customers’ roastery doors.
You can find a nice animation here detailing the emissions from the green coffee supply-chain, but for clarity we’ve also summarised them below:
At the farm – factors such as the use of fertilisers, water consumption, and how organic waste is disposed of all contribute emissions.
At the mill – the level of emissions is dependent on how the coffee is processed; with natural or sun-processed coffees contributing less emissions than washed or mechanically dried coffees but factors such as electricity, water use, and waste are all common contributors.
Transport – from trucks, to container ships, and back to trucks – the emissions from transport and freight activities involved in moving green coffee from the opposite side of the world to Australia contributes around 25% to the total amount of greenhouse gasses produced.
The certification process To obtain Climate Active product certification for all our green coffee, we then had to submit our findings to an independent 3-step audit and verification process. Firstly, our inventory underwent a technical assessment to ensure that our assumptions and calculations were correct – for example the emissions factors we’ve attributed to fertiliser use at the farm level are from peer-reviewed research and widely accepted as “fact” within the industry. After the completion of the technical assessment, our inventory was then submitted to a qualified environmental auditor for verification to ensure that all of the data used was correct and could be backed with evidence. Lastly our completed submission was submitted to Climate Active for approval, before certification for our green coffee products was awarded. As a member of the Climate Active network, the information from our inventory and certification is publicly available on the Climate Active website. If you want to look a little deeper into our carbon inventory and our reduction and offset activities, you can find our Public Disclosure Statement by clicking through to the FTA Coffee Climate Active homepage.