As part of our commitment to becoming a certified B-Corp business we have committed to producing a ‘positive impact report’ at the end of every year. This is an account of the positive steps we have taken in the past 12 months to benefit our community, the environment and wider society. It had been tough year for all small businesses out there and other besides just from surviving we have also taken the following small, but hopefully impactful, measures to help run our business as a force for good.
This year we established a Coffee Academy for young people that is administered by the charity Project Northern Lights. This is the first pilot year and we have been working with a students from our local Breadalbane Academy to put them through a three-month mentoring programme that includes two Speciality Coffee Association (SCA) qualifications and follow up practical training with volunteer placements in partner cafes. This first year has gone really well with all nine pupils successfully completing the pilot. We have seen a massive improvement in both their coffee skills and knowledge as well as their confidence in a customer service environment. We are looking forward to expanding the programme into the wider community next year.
The Repair Café
This year we have hosted the Aberfeldy Repair Café every third Saturday of the month. With a goal of repairing anything that is broken and out of use, rather than just throwing it away, the team of volunteer fixers are dedicated to minimising waste. The Repair Café also has a strong element of social enterprise, helping to give some of Aberfeldy’s retired residents renewed focus and purpose. We very much look forward to welcoming the team at The Repair Café back in 2022.
Partnership with Trees for Life
This year we went into formal partnership with the rewilding charity Trees for Life. As part of our commitment to this dynamic charity that has planted almost two million trees in the Scottish Highlands, we launched our positive impact coffee True North. With £1 in every bag going to the charity, sales from this blend have already raised £2,000. Our team travelled up to stunning Glen Affric to help plant juniper and birch this autumn and we have been directly responsible for planting more than 350 trees this year (thanks to a second team tree planting day at Dun Coillich Community Land). We are crunching the numbers (carbon footprint report due in January), but are confident that these efforts have pushed our Coffee Roastery into being climate positive in 2021 for Scope 1 and 2 emissions.
Bags go greener
At the beginning of 2021 most of the bags that we pack our coffee into went fully compostable. We previously used composite bags with foil lining but thanks to recent advances in technology that have enabled the manufacture of PLA corn starch packaging our bags are now much greener. We continue to offer all of our wholesale customers, as we have done since April 2019, one kilo bag that are fully home compostable within four months. All of our 250g retail bags are also compostable, although we recommend that these are industrially processed and offer this service for free from our roastery. We still pack bulk orders into bigger 2.5 kilo foil bags to minimise packaging waste and are soon to move on to a compostable alternative. Packaging remains a real challenge to sustainability in the food and drink industry and we will look forward to pioneering greener solutions.
This year we installed our first bank of solar panels on the roof of our roastery. With a maximum capacity of generating 5KW of power from the sun our panels are already working with us to power up to 12% percentage of our energy usage during our busiest times and this will only increase in the spring as the days grow longer. We also have a battery that stores any excess energy we produce from our panels. We are lucky enough to have a big, south facing roof and will be adding more and more solar power over coming the coming years with the goal of running our roastery entirely with renewable electricity by 2025.
Personal Development Fund
This year we set up a personal development fund for all of our staff which will hopefully enable them to continue to learn and grown in their roles. We will fund any course of education that will directly or indirectly benefit the business to limit of £1,000 for each member of the team. Glen Lyon Coffee is committed to supporting its staff long term in well paid and fulfilling employment and the personal development fund is an important part of this.
We continue to work with our long-term partners at origin and look forward to the imminent arrival of our Brazilian coffee beans from Fazenda do Lobo for the third year running as well as a shipment of our delicious Bolivian coffee from the Mamani Family and the Uchumachi Community, a relationship established back in 2017. We have also worked with some truly inspiring producers and exporters this year a number of whom are female led businesses, including Coffee Bird and Cata Export. We have been unable to visit producers this last year due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic but have had lots of lively online chats and are committed to visiting origin again as soon as we able.