Bellwether Coffee releases its 2020 Sustainability Report and why roasters should switch to electric roasting

Bellwether Coffee

In its 2020 Sustainability Report, sustainable coffee tech-company Bellwether Coffee says it has experienced rapid growth, with revenue growing more than 100 per cent, and roaster installations doubling.

“We officially launched Tip the Farmer, our impact program to financially support coffee producers, and we developed a sustainability calculator to enable our customers to measure their environmental impact from roasting on a Bellwether,” the company says.

“This was a true team effort, and we are deeply grateful to everyone who contributed to our growth and accomplishments this year.”

According to the report, Bellwether roasters reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 896,096 pounds, and sustainably sourced 390,720 pounds of green coffee. Through its Tip the Farmer program it also distributed US$3000 directly to coffee producers.

These energy savings were equal to keeping a car off the road for 158,6340 kilometres, or turning off the electricity in 90 homes for a year, says Bellwether.

The company states that over 2020, it aligned with several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including good health and well-being, gender equality, responsible consumption and production, and more.

Bellwether also created a sustainability calculator during 2020, so Bellwether roaster users could measure individual and total impact of their Bellwether’s roasting fleet on the environment.

Bellwether says it’s achieved these results through its commercial coffee roaster machine which it calls “the world’s most sustainable roaster”, powered by electricity and producing zero emissions.

“The Bellwether runs on electricity — not natural gas — and is the only commercial roaster that can be operated entirely by renewable energy,” says Bellwether.

The roaster boosts a ventless roasting system, using a “first-of-its-kind” recirculating roasting technology that eliminates particulates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in real-time, during coffee roasting. According the Bellwether, this is done without requiring additional ventilation systems or afterburners.

“Roasting on a Bellwether reduces the VOCs and particulate matter by 80 per cent and 43 per cent respectively during the roast cycle, compared to a natural gas roaster with afterburner,” Bellwether says.

“The Bellwether Roaster saves 2.077 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per pound of roasted coffee, saving over 43,000 pounds annually—equivalent to keeping a car off the road for 49,000 miles.”

With more than 80 per cent of natural gas accounting for the country’s emissions, the company says banning natural gases is the first step to reducing carbon emissions.

“For the coffee industry, no new gas hook ups means no new gas-powered roasters or roasteries which means electrification is an inevitable force and a gas-free future for coffee roasters is already here,” says Bellwether.

Currently, coffee roasting accounts for 15 per cent of the carbon footprint produced by the coffee industry, and every year, the United States produces more than eight billion pounds of coffee. This means, says Bellwether, that gas-powered roasting is no longer sustainable for the planet or for the future of coffee farmers.

To further shape a green coffee industry, Bellwether says coffee roasters should sustainably source their coffee and pay farms economically ethical prices.

Reducing packaging and transport is another key factor, with the company stating that for every pound of coffee roasted on its machines, 0.07 kilogram of packaging is saved — the equivalent of four single use cups.

Coffee roasters should also work to make roasting accessible to all, through allowing anyone to source, roast and sell their own coffee. In its report, Bellwether says that 69 per cent of customers had never roasted before Bellwether, and 21 per cent of their customer base were black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC).

To read the full report, click here.

Send this to a friend