4. REDUCING OUR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Scientific predictions on the impact of climate change on the coffee industry present a stark warning to all involved. Swift actions to mitigate our climate change impacts need to be taken today. Outlined below are some of the recent improvements made in 2021-22 and a detailed explanation of our Net Zero by 2040 ambition.
A Journey of Continuous Improvement
Some of our biggest efficiency improvements in 2021-22 are listed below.
During 2022, we invested in new LED lighting and by the end of that year, two of our main buildings in Glasgow had 98% of their lightbulbs replaced with LED bulbs. LED bulbs use around 75% less energy than incandescent ones and we therefore expect to see some significant reductions in energy use.
EV Charging Points
In 2022, we signed off on the purchase of 3 new electric vehicle charging points which were installed at the reception of the main building in Glasgow in early 2023. This is a fantastic step forward in facilitating the increased use of low emission vehicles as part of our aim to reduce commuting emissions.
Espresso Warehouse Building Insulation
In 2022, we installed roof and wall insulation on our Espresso Warehouse building in Glasgow. The ambition for this project is to reduce our energy usage and costs for heating as well as improving the environment for our colleagues who work in the warehouse.
End of Life Products
During the global pandemic, some of our good practice could not be facilitated as many colleagues were placed on the Government furlough scheme. Our donations of end-of-life products was one that had to be re-established and in 2022, we were delighted to set up our charity donations once more. Once items are too near the best before date, we inform our local charity partners who are able to select the goods that they wish to make use of. In 2022 we donated 1,796kg of products. These goods are perfectly good to eat, often for as long as 6 months after their best before dates, which is why we are delighted that they are now being diverted from waste streams and donated to charities that support our local community.
Net Zero by 2040 Ambition
Net Zero Landscape
Climate change is real and set to worsen, affecting crop growth, human health, homes and livelihoods. Looking at coffee in isolation, climate change is predicted to cause a 50% reduction in the land that is currently suitable for coffee growing by 20501 (see Figure 1).
The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) have calculated that we must limit warming to 1.5% compared to pre-industrial levels, and that businesses, governments, global industry and the wider society will need to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 to ensure this target is met. Net zero emissions is when the total amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) is the same or less than the amount removed from the atmosphere.
The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change, signed in 2015. It requires all nations to substantially reduce GHG emissions to limit global warming to no more than 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels. To hit this target, emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
As a result, in 2019, the UK Government was the first major economy to set a net zero target of 2050. Scotland set a net zero target of 2045. These landmark legislations commit the UK and Scotland to becoming a net zero societies by 2050 and 2045 respectively.
Net Zero v Carbon Neutral
For context, the GHG Protocol splits emissions into 3 categories: scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3 (see Figure 2).
are emissions released directly from our facilities
are indirectly produced by electricity producers to power our own operations
are indirect emissions which relate to everything else in our value chain from business travel to waste generated in our operations
Figure 2 – GHG emissions by scope2
‘Net zero’ and ‘carbon neutral’ are terms that are now in everyday use, yet many people are unclear on the difference.
‘Net zero’ means that all the emissions that are associated with an organisation’s entire operations and value chain – scopes 1, 2 and 3 – are reduced in line with the latest climate science with the aim of achieving the goals set out in the Paris Agreement. Most businesses cannot completely eliminate their carbon footprint so any residual emissions are removed through carbon offsetting. This is where a business engages in a climate investment and pays to remove carbon from the atmosphere, storing it where it won’t contribute to climate change.
‘Carbon neutral’ means only scope 1 and scope 2 emissions are measured and then offset. Scope 3 emissions do not need to be measured and accounted for in order for a business to become carbon neutral. There is no requirement for emissions reductions to have taken place. This does not meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement.
Achieving net zero is clearly more challenging than being carbon neutral, both in terms of measurement and reduction of emissions.
Our Commitment to Net Zero by 2040
Given the importance of the legislation and its impact on our planet, we have challenged ourselves to achieve net zero ahead of UK & Scotland Government targets. By 2035, we will be net zero across our own operations and by 2040, we will be net zero across our entire value chain.
We have launched our Net Zero by 2040 roadmap (see Figure 3), which follows the same structure as the British Retail Consortium’s roadmap to net zero:
Operating Efficient Sites
Low Carbon Logistics & Transport
Helping our Employees and Customers to Live Low Carbon Lifestyles
Figure 3 – Matthew Algie's Net Zero by 2040 Roadmap
Our Progress to Date
In 2018, together with One Carbon World we measured and offset our carbon emissions at our Glasgow roastery and became carbon neutral. We were the first roaster in the world to achieve their Carbon Neutral International Standard as a result.
In 2022 working with a carbon accounting consultancy, Normative, we measured our emissions across our entire operations and value chain. Working on our 2021 assessment we ensure our footprint is increasingly accurate. We reported on our carbon footprint for 2021 using our previous methodology in a recent edition of our e-zine. In 2021 we accounted for 1,872 tCO2e emissions using our previous methodology but our new insights show that the Matthew Algie footprint was closer to 14,442 tCO2e. 93% of our footprint was attributable to indirect scope 3 emissions sources, demonstrating the added value of expanding the boundaries of our assessment to include more scope 3 data.
We are now establishing our 2022 carbon footprint using the new methodology and this will be our baseline year for tracking progress towards our net zero ambitions and making sure we align with the Science Based Targets Initiative. 2022 will be a more relevant baseline year than 2021 because the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted our business in 2021. In addition, our transition to working more closely across the Tchibo Coffee Service UK group with Tchibo Coffee International and Capitol Foods was more fully established in 2022.
Though the scale of the challenge can sometimes feel daunting, it’s helpful to have a more accurate picture of our GHG emissions. We know that this will form an effective launchpad for our Net Zero by 2040 journey.
Engaging our People
Our Sustainability team comprises of Amy Oroko (Sustainability Manager) and Alan Beattie (Sustainability Analyst). Amy joined Matthew Algie in 2014 after working as a consultant for Imani Development. She graduated in 2013 with a degree in Economics and International Development. Alan joined Matthew Algie in 2022 and previously worked for the Scottish Government as a Sustainable Procurement Policy Officer. He graduated in 2019 with a degree in Environmental and Sustainable Development. The team is headed up by Dr Eduarda Cristovam (Director of Coffee, Quality and Sustainability). In 2023, a Net Zero Coordinator will be joining the team as part of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce’s Step Up to Net Zero initiative. It is funded by the Chamber as part of its commitment to ensuring Glasgow is a net zero city by 2030.
We recognise the importance of bringing all of our colleagues on this journey to becoming net zero. The Sustainability team has developed a staff engagement plan to refocus our colleagues’ efforts in areas such as recycling, and energy use. Each team has made three pledges committing them to engaging their teams in our journey to net zero. Becoming net zero is the responsibility of all of us. It does not need to be documented in a job description, as it simply forms part of our everyday behaviours. This is what we as a business want to achieve. Personal commitments in the form of pledges is just the start.
The terminology around net zero can be confusing – from climate accounting and decarbonisation, to carbon negative and climate positive. Check out Normative’s Carbon Glossary to help set you straight.