Arrosta Coffee – Finding the quick wins in a more sustainable cup of coffee
Business Success Story: Finding the quick wins in a more sustainable cup of coffee
From the back of a garage in 2005 to three bustling sites – Kirsty and Simon Fowler of Arrosta Coffee have always been looking for their business’ next challenge. Their latest? Getting ahead of the game when it comes to sustainability.
It began when Kirsty and Simon met with Toni Grace, working alongside CEDA, and learned about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. “There were some that really spoke to us – in terms of circular economy and reusability,” says Kirsty. “We thought we’d pick off some quick wins and make a meaningful start.”
Kirsty’s ‘quick wins’ has now turned into quite a list – offering coffee grounds and chaff by-products for customers’ gardens, Sammy reusable bags, and even coffee sacks that schools are nabbing for their sack races. They’ve reduced their packaging and waste for wholesale customers and were also the first in Manawatū to join the Again Again reusable cup programme. It provides stainless steel cups that visitors can take, use and return to coffee shops around the country. “Oh, it’s an amazing platform. It’s helping us divert thousands and thousands of single-use cups from landfill. Our customers really get behind it, it does mean something to people.”
Meanwhile it’s not just the good stuff out in front. There’s just as much attention being given to the things their customers won’t see behind the scenes. Whether that’s getting a more environmentally friendly roaster machine that limits emissions or being part of a EECA Coffee Decarbonisation workgroup in their ‘spare’ time.
“Legislation in this space is on its way – like plastic bags, it’s going to happen. What we’re getting is a run-up – all the systems in place – so it will be business as usual for us. Some businesses take legislation as the start line – we want to start before that.”
With Kirsty’s experience in HR, one of the benefits she’s noticed is one that others might miss.
“We’ve got a team of 14, and our approach is also about the longevity of that team. You can’t do anything without good people. We want a culture where our team feels that we do good things and sustainability cuts through on so many levels.”
There have been challenges though. “Sometimes it’s getting customers on board. It is an educational thing, and that conversation isn’t always easy to have when you’ve got a line going out the door. But we’ve also got customers who are really into it, and they’re great advocates.
“For us it’s just how you do sensible business. We’ve got finite resources, things must be circular – it’s about extending the life of an item, not just putting things in the ground.”
If Kirsty was to give one piece of advice to other businesses? “Single-use products. It’s a hot topic, and one place where you can have the best impact. Take a look at what you’re using with fresh eyes – how can it be reduced or dealt with in a different way?
“It’s all about building new norms.”