Our Sustainability Statement
We depend on the planet’s people and its resources for the success and growth of our company. For these reasons, and simply because it’s the right thing to do, we make sustainability a priority. We strive for constant improvement through the stewardship of our resources, our ecological impact, and positive engagement with our community.
Passion for People
Our company represents the hard work that producers pour into the care and cultivation of our coffee and nuts. We exercise our sourcing practices with intentionality and a responsibility that our team is grateful to live out. Our passion for people fuels our pursuit of integrity throughout our practices, and through our commitment to innovation and quality, we are able to provide every customer with a
truly superior product.
Our sourcing methods focus on building sustainable, long-term relationships with coffee producers. The term “sustainable” is used a lot, and each company defines that term a little differently. For Ferris, we think sustainable supply chains have to be financially viable for all parties, and need to have an emphasis on preserving the resources used to make what we do possible.
To ensure the supply chain is financially viable, we travel to coffee producing countries to meet with producers directly. The intent is to have conversations around production costs at origin, so we can come to an agreement on a fair margin. Many people don’t know this, but coffee is a publicly traded commodity, and therefore a “market-value” price is established via speculators and other parties who trade in the coffee commodity market. We don’t see any value in this type of valuation for coffee, as it doesn’t take into consideration the production costs at origin, and therefore we don’t use it as a means of determining the prices we pay for our raw product. Each country has very different production costs, and therefore what we pay varies significantly from origin to origin. We also place more value on coffees that “score” higher, or are of higher quality based on objective scoring methods, and pay more for that type of coffee.
The question about working conditions in coffee growing countries is also related to fair payment for green coffee. Part of the reason to pay based off of quality and production costs is so that a coffee producer, or owner of a farm or mill can pay people they hire for harvesting, processing, pruning, quality control, and other necessary duties at the farm level. Traveling to producing countries allows us to see the entire operation as a whole and determine if it is a fit for Ferris.
The last part of sustainability has to do with conserving resources. There are many ways to do this in growing coffee, but it again depends on the origin, and even the specific farm. Big things we look for are water re-use or conservation, and integrating natural means of shade and compost. A great example of what we look for is with our Brazil Primavera. This farm is consistently in the running for most sustainable farm in Brazil.
The catch with operating this way is that there is no “official” way to convey this style of sourcing. There are certifications out there such as Fair Trade that seek to convey that buying their coffee means you’re making an ethical purchasing decision, when in reality these certifications have nothing to do with paying based off of quality or production costs. Yet because they have an official “seal” which is easily identifiable, consumers that make “ethical” purchasing decisions tend to gravitate toward these products. Suffice to say that if you’re curious about how we, or any coffee roasters source coffee, the best way is to reach out. There are some other great roasters out there that source in the same way we do, and we sincerely appreciate your support for our products, it does have a big impact on the overall sustainability of specialty coffee.
“Going to origin changes your perspective on coffee, plain and simple. I’m not talking about the type of trip where one simply takes selfies with the locals in an effort to show the world how well-traveled they are. Of course, selfies and pictures will all take place inevitably; it’s hard not to become enamored by the beauty of a country that is completely different than your own, and there’s nothing wrong with that! However, through the fluff, you’ll begin to remember why you got into the business in the first place, and the real reason that we, as coffee professionals, have the privilege to do what we do—and that, of course, is the people."
- Sam Mirto, Vice President of Coffee Operations at Ferris Coffee
When we decided to re-design our coffee packaging, we started with the simple goal: reduce waste. From beginning to end of the supply chain, every aspect is taken into account for how it effects the planet.
Sustainability in the coffee industry is a constant conversation. While the world continues it's obsession and love for a cup of caffeine, the impact on the planet has become a larger issue at play. The United Nations has stated that, "Should the global population reach 9.6 billion by 2050, the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles."
The coffee industry is no exception to the rising global concerns. The simple fact is that the entire industry is reliant on the health of the planet to produce our products. Packaging accounts for around 3% of the coffee supply chain’s total carbon footprint. If plastic packaging isn’t properly sourced, produced, transported, and discarded, it can be hurt the environment.
Which Materials to Use?
For coffee, the need for airtight, durable, and eco-friendly packaging is clear. While the beans are stored in packaging, the quality and longevity of beans is reliant on the how it is stored. One single layer of material doesn’t usually provide the necessary strength, so coffee packaging usually has a minimum of two layers. These two layers of packaging are where recycling gets tricky and often confusing for the consumer. When there are two different materials in the same packaging, often they will have to be separated to be properly recycled. The adhesive between the two materials can also make them hard to separate and process.
So how to choose? Which options are best? When it comes down to it, for coffee there are few good options for maintain quality while also going "green." Common choices are kraft or rice paper packaging, though these often require that second inner layer of plastic to maintain freshness. 100% biodegradable and compostable options are currently being researched for future opportunities. Currently, only around 60% of the material used to make these coffee bags will break down. The remaining 40% consists of non-biodegradable layers, which need to be removed and separately placed in the corresponding bin but are essential to packaging coffee beans.
Our Partnership with Savor Brands
In most cases, recycling remains a viable and environmentally-friendly option. Our choice to partner with Savor Brands helped us take steps toward our sustainability goals. Savor Brands has created packaging that offers a Zero Waste Program. Through this program, 100% of the collected bags are recycled—not landfilled or incinerated—and made into materials such as garbage bins and watering cans. We're happy to offer these recycling bins as an option to our local customers and wholesale accounts in an effort to reduce waste from the planet.
While the fight against climate change continues and innovations grow in the coming years, we are eager to lead the efforts for better sustainability. Our mindset is to never settle for less than sub-par standards. We're always looking to reduce waste, lead the change, and consciously source our packaging.