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Things to do to ensure your coffee shop is ethical

Being an ethical coffee shop in 2019 is sure to drive people to your brand and pick your coffee over many of the large highstreet giants. Showing you care about the environment and your brand ethics reflects well on your produce and brand awareness.

Coffee shop ethics often revolve around environmental impact and the notion of fair trade coffee and sustainably sourcing your produce. If your goal is to ensure these issues are tackled with your coffee shop then you can also leverage this as a key message in your branding. This will typically mean that your business is going to be spending more on products due to the ethical considerations, however, some consumers will appreciate this and not mind paying the extra.

Fairtrade coffee

Well-known but is it well-regarded?

Fairtrade Coffee is often the first thing people think of alongside ethical coffee shops and for good reason. It’s a well-recognised foundation and instantly drums up images of positive working conditions for the consumer.

You would need to talk to your wholesale coffee supplier with regards to fair trade coffee beans and whether it is going to be cost effective for your business.

How to tackle coffee cup waste?

Reusable? Compostable? Biodegradable?

A recent item in the news is coffee cup waste and due to this, coffee brands are slowly implementing methods to tackle this. Larger brands like Costa and Pret a Manger offer reduced price coffee for those who bring in a reusable coffee cup. Caffe Nero on the other hand sometimes gives customers an extra stamp on their loyalty card for using a reusable cup. These are just two simple methods coffee shops are using to tackle coffee cup waste. Ultimately, 99% of coffee cups aren’t recycled, so tackling the waste can only come from tackling the source and encouraging people not to use them. This is something implemented by Waitrose who are phasing out their disposable coffee cups.

If your coffee shop is going to have ethics at the heart of everything it does, selling reusable coffee cups and offering a discount for those using them is going to the best way forward. There are recyclable coffee cup alternatives with minimal plastic but this still relies on consumers to recycle and then places this burden on you as the shop owner. Alternatively, there exists compostable coffee cups but again, this could see costs increase for you as the business owner.

Palm oil in snacks and sweets

A prominent topic since Iceland and Greenpeace’s campaign on Orangutans.

Palm oil is also something you’re going to need to consider for your ethical coffee shop. Palm oil is used in many snacks and treats that coffee shops sell and its environmental impact is significant. Consider this when purchasing extra items for your shop, if in doubt just contact the manufacturer.

Zero hour contracts

What are they and how do they affect ethics?

Zero hour contracts for your employees may be perfect for some however, the increased scrutiny and negativity in the news means offering this to your staff can be perceived as largely negative. If your brand is designed to be ethical it needs to reflect this across all aspects of the business.

Overall, you will need to be considerate of environmental and ethical concerns to ensure your coffee shop succeeds in this form of branding. Inform customers of all you do for the planet through your sustainability work in signage around the shop. This will help to design your coffee shop in a different way to competitors to provide that USP. If they’re designed well enough, customers interested in ethical issues may even share such posters etc on social media.

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