It’s still hard to wrap our minds around the fact that we’ve been around for 22 years. That’s enough time to grow a person from baby to adult, for a coffee plant to go from seed to fruit several times over. And as you well know, we’ve also done a lot of growing in that time.
Since our start in 1999, our mission has been to source and serve the best coffees in the world—in a way that is good for the people involved and the planet. But until recently, we didn’t have a system in place to help codify those efforts into standardized practices. That’s why back in 2018, we decided to formalize our commitment to community and sustainability by becoming a Certified B Corp.
So what exactly does that mean? It means we joined a community of over 4,500 companies across the globe who, just like us, have made a formal (and measurable!) commitment to using their business as a force for good. Led by the nonprofit network B Lab, B Corp certification is a designation given to businesses that have passed a rigorous assessment and are deemed to be operating at the highest standards, socially and environmentally.
At Stumptown, the process of becoming certified paved the way for us to create systems for evaluating how we run our business. This includes the impacts on our people, the environment, the communities in which we operate, and the farms where we source coffees. And the process revealed that while we do a lot of things well, we have lots of room to grow.
Okay, so flash forward a bit. We got our B Corp certification, which, if we didn’t make clear, was a process, and one we will undertake every three years to maintain our designation. It takes some time and effort, but our commitment to being a B Corp means we’re on a path and committed to sharing our progress with our stakeholders—from customers and employees to the producers who grow our beans and the communities where we roast, brew, and serve.
And here are some of the steps we’ve taken toward a more sustainable future:
In 2021, we analyzed all aspects of our operations and are actively formulating a plan to tackle our greenhouse gas emissions, beginning with reducing our energy consumption and working to source renewable energy across all operations.
Also in 2021, we activated our partnership with fellow B-Corp Too Good To Go in all markets—LA, NY, and Portland—saving nearly 1,000 meals (and counting) from being wasted.
We source over 90% of our coffee from producers we’ve worked with for three years or more. And 40% of that comes from folks we’ve partnered with for more than a decade. We helped pioneer the Direct Trade model of green coffee sourcing, which allows us to maintain a direct link to the coffees we source and the people producing them.
Our support doesn't stop at coffee. Here are just a few ways we were able to work together with our producer partners to create a positive outcome:
Shifting climate patterns have caused more frequent heavy rains in Northern Sumatra, damaging roadways used by the Ketiara Cooperative - a group of producers we’ve partnered with since 2013. In partnership with our importer partner, Atlas Coffees, we’ve helped fund the development of new concrete roadways in the region, with more underway.
As soon as Tesfaye Bekele, the owner of Suke Quto farm and washing station in Ethiopia, told us that his local school was falling into disrepair, we started work with his community and our import partners, Trabocca, to fund and build a new school.
When our exporter partners at Pergamino in Medellin, Colombia, told us that their community was experiencing negative health effects due to indoor, open-fire cooking, we co-funded a pilot program to supply families with locally made, clean-burning cookstoves.
We initiated and expanded a number of initiatives for our employees across all aspects of the business.
In 2018, we kicked off the Stumptown Passion Project Fund, a grant program to support employees’ work outside of work, including a Dungeons and Dragons podcast, a queer typography show, a couple of printing presses, an independent record label, a backyard greenhouse, a homebrewing operation, and more.
We’ve also expanded our paid parental leave program, invested in raising compensation for entry-level positions, reduced eligibility requirements so that medical insurance and 401k participation begin immediately upon hire, and added paid volunteer hours to our standard employee benefits package.
We work with fellow B Corps like MiiR for coffee thermoses, Too Good to Go for food waste reduction, Caravela and Sustainable Harvest for green coffee export, and Grady Britton for brand marketing.
Committing to B Corp means we’re in it for the long haul, on a path of continuous assessment and improvement. Through a detailed and rigorous recertification process, we were proud to see our original 2018 certification score of 80 (the minimum to qualify for B Corp certification) improve to 89.7 in 2021. While it’s rewarding to see months of hard work pay off, we know there’s plenty to do to continue delivering the highest quality coffee with ever-increasing sustainability.
Follow along for more updates in 2022! To learn more about Stumptown's commitment to people and planet, visit stumptowncoffee.com/impact.