At Birds and Beans we don't do anything different on Earth Day. Don't get me wrong, its not that we don't appreciate the other guys giving some notice to the environment one day a year. Every little bit helps.
If we were to take the opportunity to crow (pun intended) about our sustainability record, you'd get bored because it is so comprehensive. So instead, click here if you want to see what we do everyday to make our Earth more livable.
Earth Day is a good moment to look at what we've done in just the past year to raise the bar from where we were the year before. For businesses, the most significant measure of sustainability must be in the production of its core product. I see way too many companies getting "warm fuzzies" from the public for changing their light bulbs while their shelves are stocked with products made in toxic sweatshops in other countries. Its not that I begrudge their choice to use less energy to illuminate their walls of shame... enough said?
By contrast we're on track to our goal of offering 100% certified Bird Friendly coffee by 2013. [Update: We did that!] We're delighted that after years of discussions, our 3 growers in Nicaragua have become the first certified Bird Friendly growers in Nicaragua. This is more than just adding a certification to a previously available crop. It turns out that even within these growers, some of their coffee is certifiable and some is not. That means when we purchased coffee from these growers in the past, it might not have been grown in the bio-diverse rustic shade that we are trying to support.
Do you see why certification is important? Now our Nicaraguan growers are separating the coffee grown in certifiable shade from the rest. So in purchasing the Bird Friendly coffee we feed back to the growers that we are willing pay a bit more to preserve a bit of lush habitat with our delicious coffee.
In 2012, together with our USA counterpart, we purchased the first ever full container of certified Bird Friendly coffee to leave Nicaragua!
We do believe the little things do matter too. So we've upgraded to St. John's organic bread in the cafe. We've shifted from an assortment of cleaners with unverified green claims to Green Cricket's EcoLogo certified cleaners. We've banished all products containing Palm Oil from our cafe. We planted our CHIRP! native garden behind the café and incorporated onsite composting.
If the most significant measure of sustainability for business is in the production of its core product, what is the parallel for us as individuals? Arguably, it is for us to change our daily consumption, specifically, our food choices. If you drink coffee every day, this is a great place to start. Imagine changing from drinking coffee that is eradicating habitat every day, to coffee that preserves and enhances it? Its so easy! And the payoff is also better tasting coffee.
Celebrate Earth Day with certified Bird Friendly coffee from Birds and Beans and then make Earth Day last forever by enjoying it every day.