Blue Bottle Coffee plans to achieve its commitment for 2024 Carbon Neutrality
September 21 - 2023
Coffee Geography Magazine
In 2021, Blue Bottle committed to carbon neutrality by 2024. A high-level greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions estimate guided early action across the business, including the company’s oat milk default program in the US. In 2022, Blue Bottle conducted a full Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) following ISO standards to calculate the baseline GHG emissions.
"As stewards of delicious coffee, the growing concerns of climate change challenge us to rethink the very essence of our coffee journey and how we do business. The pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee will always be intertwined with the well-being of our planet. Embracing sustainability isn’t just a choice; it’s imperative that Blue Bottle is part of the solution if we are to ensure the legacy of a delicious cup of coffee for generations to come. Our commitment to reimagining how we do business is a reflection of our dedication to the environment, our guests, and the rich experience of savoring every sip," said Karl Strovink, CEO of Blue Bottle.
Based on the results of this third-party-certified LCA, Blue Bottle aims to achieve a 20 percent reduction in its GHG emissions intensity—or carbon footprint per kilogram of product sold, on the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) scope, compared to its 2018 baseline year. For unabated emissions, Blue Bottle will purchase high-quality carbon credits, including nature-based climate solutions. In its endeavor to reach the ultimate goal, Blue Bottle designed its efforts around three areas in its leading emissions categories
• Green Coffee: reducing risk of deforestation in green coffee sourcing
• Cafe Operations: promoting plant-based milk consumption
• Overheads: reducing commuting frequency
Unmanageable farm land usage is a top contributor to agriculture emissions, which constitute around 30 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is the leading contributor to Blue Bottle Coffee brand emissions in the 2018 baseline. Through third-party sustainability audits, the coffee company has been able to verify farm conditions and deforestation risk in the coffee supply chain since 2018. Given the selection of suppliers through the evolution of the sourcing, Blue Bottle is reducing risk of deforestation in its green coffee supply.
In addition, plant-based milk represent a major opportunity to reduce GHGs. Dairy was a leading contributor to cafe operations emissions in 2018, the second largest category driving brand emissions in the baseline. By serving oat milk as the default in its US cafes and eliminating the extra charge for oat milk in Japan and Hong Kong, Blue Bottle is reducing its emissions from dairy. Plant-based milks now constitute the majority of cafes’ purchased milk compared to less than a quarter in 2018.
Overheads, including business travel and commuting among other expenditures, represented the third largest emissions category in Blue Bottle’s baseline assessment. Establishing hybrid and remote work models for US office employees after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic afforded more flexibility to teams and proved an opportunity to reduce commutes, particularly emissions-intensive car travel.
“Our fundamental belief in living a continuous improvement mindset throughout our business is what drives our combined focus on quality and sustainability. Reducing emissions intensity and serving guests incredible coffee experiences in an inspiring environment are absolutely compatible with this way of thinking," said Kester Whitaker, COO of Blue Bottle. Blue Bottle’s reduction target spans the global brand from coffee sourcing to end-of-life product and packaging emissions. The company plans to report the third-party certified results in 2025. It continues to compensate for the emissions associated with shipping US e-commerce orders to guests.