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Cafe sustainability: Your guide to sustainable coffee and more

There are many benefits to building environmental and sustainable values into your daily cafe operations. Not only can you significantly reduce your overheads and enjoy greater efficiency, but your sustainability initiatives may attract interest and a strong reputation among many of today’s customers. 

In fact, sustainability and concern for the environment is something on the many of most Australians. In a recent poll, 6 in 10 of us agreed that long-term climate change was as profound a crisis as COVID-19. 

Being an environmentally-minded food service professional should be seen as an opportunity rather than an operational burden. Plus, if you don’t want to make every change overnight, you can do so gradually. 

In today’s post, we’ll be sharing ideas on a few areas that could have an impact on your footprint including how you use energy and water, reviewing suppliers of sustainable coffee, food and your furniture, and exploring how you deal with waste and encourage sustainable customer behaviour. 

Energy and water

There are several things, big and small, that you can do to decrease your cafe's resource consumption and save on energy and water - helpful for the environment and your cafe's profits.

Furniture and decor

Selecting sustainable furniture and decor doesn't need to be all or nothing. In fact, overhauling your entire cafe and installing new interior and exterior furniture is just the opposite of sustainable! Instead, make the conscious choice to choose more sustainable fittings from this point onwards. Think about:

Suppliers (including sustainable coffee suppliers)

Being sustainable isn't just about what happens inside your cafe's four walls; sustainability is also on the outside. Choosing suppliers with top-notch sustainability credentials is critical. 

Start with a coffee supplier who uses sustainable farming and processing methods, ensures fair conditions and pay for workers and meets recognised sustainability standards. For example, Lavazza's locally roasted food service range La Reserva de ¡Tierra! supports sustainable coffee projects at origin. It is the result of ethical commitment to sustainability, in collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance, an NGO which promotes the rights and wellbeing of workers' communities, certifying farms which must meet rigorous social and environmental standards. TICK!

But it's not just about the coffee, also consider the ethics of your other suppliers:


When we talk about sustainability, waste is probably the first thing that comes to mind. There is so much more you can do than just separating and recycling! Whether it be general rubbish, food waste or used coffee grounds, managing your cafe's waste thoughtfully is key to making your shop sustainable. 

Hopefully, you've already minimised general waste (the stuff that will end up in landfill), and you can also seek out services to take care of food waste and recyclables like cans, glass, cardboard and some plastics. 

Something every cafe has in common is a lot of used coffee grounds. Coffee grounds are great to add to compost, worm farms or directly into garden beds. If you don't have a use for them yourself, search out keen local gardeners or community gardens in your local area who would be happy to take them off your hands. There are also Reground diversion service providers that can help you out. This is also a great local PR opportunity - even if it's just on a community Facebook post. 

Customer behaviour

Encouraging your customers to make more sustainable choices is a great way to improve your cafe's green credentials. Some ideas:

  • Reward your customers with a discount for bringing their reusable coffee cups
  • Offer digital receipts via email or text to avoid paper waste
  • Provide clearly labelled recycling and compost bins

Choosing suppliers and business partners who hold a similar sustainability vision to you makes life easier. Find out more about Lavazza’s approach to sustainable coffee.

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