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It might just be a drop in the cup — but it’s the ripples that matter


Let’s face it: most of us like to start the day with a good cup of coffee, whether to brave the morning commute, or be alert for that nine o’clock meeting. But as we take our first sip, do we ever stop to think about the journey our coffee has made, the people involved, or the impact it’s had on the environment?

Climate change is making it more and more difficult to grow high-quality beans sustainably. Without the right support and investment in this area, the next generation of farmers no longer see a future in their trade. As consumers, should we be worrying about potential coffee shortages, and the impact this might have on the price of our morning espresso?

Closer to home, we’re turning our attention towards the huge environmental impact of coffee packaging. In the UK alone, we use more than 7 million disposable cups a day. That’s a staggering 2.5 billion cups a year. With only 3 specialized centres in the country able to process the cups, it’s no wonder less than 1% are currently being recycled.

We were Fairtrade pioneers back in 1987. Now, we’re leading the way again, this time in sustainability. We’re a small, humble company, but one with a global outreach. In a drive to support family-run coffee farms, we founded the Next Generation Coffee project: an initiative that educates young farmers in Tanzania and Colombia about climate change and sustainable growing techniques.

We also launched the first 100% plant-based and compostable Nespresso capsules, to help battle the overwhelming amount of waste produced by the regular ones. And it doesn’t stop there. In June, we unveiled our brand new Iced Coffee range, packaged in a 100% recyclable Cartocan. Earlier this year, we opened the world’s most sustainable pop-up shop in Old Street, London. As well as showcasing the many issues facing the coffee industry today, we offered tips on how we can all be more sustainable with our daily coffee habits.

“We’re really proud to have been one of the first coffee brands to sign the Fairtrade agreement - pioneering is in our blood, and our innovative, sustainable products echo this legacy. Percol customers rightly care about where their coffee comes from and its impact on the environment. That’s why we’re taking bold steps to ensure that our coffee is 100% certified by 2020, and that all of our products are 100% virgin plastic free - or made from sustainable materials - by 2022.” 

– David Brooks, Managing Director
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Percol has been a long-standing supporter of the Fairtrade movement, and was the very first ground coffee on shelf to hold the Fairtrade mark.

The Fairtrade certification guarantees the farmers a fair price for the coffee they grow, and aims to ensure decent working conditions, adequate training, and upgrades in equipment.
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Coffee is a delicate plant so it’s important to us and the growers to preserve the environment where it’s grown.

Through the Rainforest Alliance, farmers are taught the importance of protecting biodiversity and natural resources, which in turn helps them to grow high quality, sustainable crops.

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The Soil Association certifies Organic products and campaigns for improved standards around issues such as soil degradation and genetic modification of crops.
We have several Organic certified coffees in our range, made from beans grown using eco-friendly practices and without the use of fertilizers.