The fans of Yerba Mate have been growing rainforests with Guayaki’s Tiny Foot print Coffee which is fair trade coffee, by planting a tree for each pound of beans that they sell.
This green practice makes this the world’s first coffee that offsets the negative effects of carbon. The roasting and shipping of one pound of coffee adds about 4 pounds of the equivalent carbon dioxide (CO2e) in the atmosphere.
However, the planting of trees which grow fast in the Ecuadorian cloud forest removes 54 pounds of CO2e. According to Tiny Footprint Coffee, that for every pound of coffee sold, there is 50 pounds of negative carbon goodness.
However, the trees that are planted have to suck up CO2 for 20 years in order to reach that figure of 54 pounds. Also there is much more to consider about the coffee’s carbon footprint than simply the roasting and shipping.
For instance, in your home the process of brewing the beverage and the grinding of coffee beans creates somewhere between 0.04 and 0.7 pounds of CO2e, depending on what you add to the coffee and how you heat your water. Because each pound of coffee is good for approximately fifty cups of coffee there is somewhere between 2.3 and 35 additional pounds of emission of CO2e for each pound of coffee that you purchase.
Although Tiny Footprint Coffee is 90% fair trade certified and all organic, the other 10% of coffees that are fair trade and are non certified that come from family farms that are small and aren’t eligible for certification of fair trade since they aren’t a part of a large growing cooperative.
However, they do grow sustainable, premium, and beautiful coffees that people pay above fair trade price to get. Also those numbers don’t include the widely varying farming practices that can affect the carbon footprint of growing a cup of coffee. People always buy organic coffees that are sustainably grown but aren’t limited to only reach certified fair trade coffees.
As far as the claims of the carbon negative, the CO2e calculations made by Tiny Footprint should be taken with a grain of salt. In addition, they are hard to compare with other coffee companies that are planting trees.