Innovation That Matters

Don Maslow coffee provides an example of how coffee can be produced fairly and sustainably | Photo source Milo Miloezger on Unsplash

An environmentally-friendly coffee supply chain

Food & Drink

A Honduran company has developed a production process that utilises solar-powered drying machines and avoids deforestation

Spotted: A number of research studies have suggested that climate change could see the world lose more than half of its best coffee-growing land. On top of this, new coffee plantations often lead to deforestation, and the subsequent loss of biodiversity. Don Maslow Coffee was founded to demonstrate that there is a more sustainable way to grow and process coffee. The company was named for Abraham Maslow, the pioneer of the famous ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ pyramid.

The coffee is grown using an environmentally-friendly method called ‘Integrated Open Canopy’ (IOC), which was developed by the non-profit Mesoamerican Development Institute. Instead of clearing forest, the IOC method includes the forest habitat as part of the coffee farm, and has been proven to increase coffee yields while supporting biodiversity. All of the coffee is grown in Honduras, by women-owned coffee cooperatives.

On top of the sustainable growing methods, the coffee is produced using solar-powered drying machines to eliminate the need for wood fires, and is packed in 100 per cent compostable packaging. The company also uses the ‘direct trade’ model to ensure that farmers who supply green coffee are paid fairly. They support small businesses and start-ups at every stage, from roasting to warehousing, in order to encourage the development of new business.

Co-founder Vanessa Hernandez, a Honduran national feels that it is morally incumbent on her to develop a business model that addresses the issue of value distribution in that country. She told Springwise, “In an increasingly concentrated sector, the main corporate actors have successfully privatised an increasing share of the value generated by the value chain, whereas the producers, more than ever, need financial resources to fight against the effects of climate change.” 

The farming sector is seeing a wide range of innovations related to improving sustainability. These range from efficiencies such as autonomous tractors to projects that support local producers and a method for growing produce in salt water.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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