🌱 Circularity: Buzzword or Business Model? 

Featuring Origin Coffee, Kaffe Bueno, First Mile and more...

Happy Friday!

This week we’re talking chatting all things circularity. We cover:

  • Circularity: Buzzword or Business Model? 

  • How Origin Coffee are taking key steps to build a circular economy.

  • In case you missed it: Research and Development: A startup's secret weapon?

> Good News This Week

🎯 Kaffe Bueno was awarded a €2.5 Million grant to build Europe's 1st Coffee Bio-Refinery, by The European Innovation Council.

🎯 Plymouth Gin announced its ‘more sustainable’ bottle design would cut 60 tonnes of carbon emissions. It has removed all single-use plastic from its bottles and reduced the overall weight of the glass by 15%.

🎯 Toast Ale announced launched its Companion Series today, bringing together 25 breweries to release 26 limited edition beers, a charitable collaboration to coincide with COP26. 3.25 million trees in threatened tropical rainforests will be protected via the Rainforest Trust, and 360 tonnes of CO2 will be captured (among other benefits) via Soil Heroes. 

🎯 Callia Flowers has partnered with Patch, enabling them to work with projects such as Running Tide, HUSK and FutureForest. 

🎯 A LITTLE FIND is partnering with Provenance for a POSITIVE PROOF section of their consumer goods marketplace. 

⭐️ Lacoste announced it was one of 5 fashion partners to join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on their Make Fashion Circular project. The other partners are Inditex, Primark, PVH Corp and Ralph Lauren Corporation. 

⭐️ Cartier and Kering are partnering with the Responsible Jewellery Council for ‘Watch and Jewellery Initiative 2030’, which has 3 key goals: building climate resilience, preserving resources, and fostering inclusiveness. 

⚡️ Surrey County Council announced it was launching new funding for small businesses to become more green via their LoCASE, Low Carbon Across the South and East, project. Grants of up to £10,000 are available, along with environmental training and events.

⚡️ France is to ban plastic packaging for all fruit and veg from 1st January 2022 onwards, hoping to prevent the use of over 1 billion plastic packages per year. Other interventions, like banning fast food restaurants from offering free plastic toys, are also coming into effect. 

> Click on each link to read more.

> Brand Spotlight

Circularity: Buzzword or Business Model? 

Circularity is a word that is being used a lot these days. And for good reason too. The world is in a climate crisis, while the current production of goods is at the expense of the productivity of our ecosystems. But is it just another buzzword or is there merit behind its meaning? Let’s explore.

The practice of circularity is based on the circular economy. A circular economy is a system of closed loops in which raw materials, products and parts maintain as much value as possible, renewable energy sources are used, and systems thinking sits at the core. 

For brands, the circular economy can offer an aspirational - and attainable - business model. One that shifts away from the linear mindset of ‘take, make, waste’ to one that is resourceful, restorative and regenerative by design. It is often split into three broad pillars:

  • Design out waste and pollution (increase resource efficiency)

  • Keep products and materials in use for as long as possible (avoid landfill)

  • Regenerate natural systems (return waste back to its natural state)

While the circular economy is far from new, a switch to circular thinking is wildly relevant today

Embracing circularity can help brands to achieve net zero. How? By closing loops to get the most value out of their materials and reducing embodied carbon. The approach can also assist in the cleaning of supply chains, reducing the pollution and negative impacts found in production and manufacturing processes.

But the value of the circular economy extends far beyond net zero targets. In fact, circularity can be a driving force for sustainability in business. And with a recent report finding that a move to renewables across the globe will only curb 55% of greenhouse gas emissions, stepping away from the ‘business as usual’ trajectory is key.

A circular economy is important not just for the planet, but for people too. As we build back better and recover from the pandemic, working towards an inclusive circular economy is necessary to ensure a sustainable future for everyone, everywhere.

Decarbonising energy alone won’t cut it, the future of business is circular.

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> Brand Spotlight

Closing Loops With Origin Coffee

Origin Coffee is an independently-owned specialty coffee roaster that is bound by one central ethos: to source exceptional coffee through a triple bottom line approach.

In 2020, Origin Coffee announced its core aims aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the first time. Number one on the list? Building a circular economy. Already, the team has reduced ‘general waste’ at their roastery (the area in which they have the most control) by 15% compared to 2019.

Some other ways the brand is taking steps towards circularity include:

  • Teaming up with First Mile to recycle its coffee bags not accepted in kerbside recycling.

  • Implementing the ‘Too Good to Go’ initiative to reduce food waste from its cafes.

  • Working with the University of Exeter on sustainable packaging innovation (Tevi Project) and building their network with like-minded professionals by joining local environmental groups, such as Plastic Free Falmouth.

  • Lowering reliance on single-use cups via discounts for those who bring reusables (reducing the use of takeaway cups vs kilo of coffee sold by 40% in London stores).

  • Committed to buying 100% renewable electricity (currently at 25% in the roastery).

Origin Coffee is also embracing zero waste to landfill - a key component of a circular economy -  by finding ways to close the loop on its packaging and by-products in the supply chain:

  • Coffee sacks: Around 100 sacks, used in the process of roasting coffee, are resold or recycled each week, with the proceeds donated to Project Waterfall and the surplus sent to recycling experts, Ellis Jute, who transform them into carpet underlay.

  • Coffee grounds: Freely available for local customers to use as fertiliser or slug repellent, with any excess sent to an anaerobic digester

  • Coffee bags: Used bags from the team’s shops are collected and sent to a specialist recycling facility. The team is working on a bag that can be recycled more easily.

By prioritising prevention, reuse and recycling Origin Coffee is helping to keep materials in use for as long as possible, as per the waste hierarchy. This tool ranks waste management options according to what is best for the environment, complementing the coffee brand’s move to a more circular approach. Of course, the journey is far from over. 

Support Origin Coffee via their shop:

Shop Origin Coffee

> In case you missed it

Research and Development: A startup's secret weapon?

Featuring 4.5.6 Skin, Three Spirit, Mous and more...

Read the Full Story

> Follow up with…

  1. Article: Is a world without trash possible?

  2. Book: The Circular Economy: A User’s Guide

  3. Podcast: Closing the gaps in the circular economy

  4. Community: Business in the Community