Brewing A Better World
As part of our efforts, we donate a portion of our pre-tax profits every year to support socially and environmentally responsible initiatives. And in 2011, we were named the largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee in the world, a reflection of our commitment to high-quality coffee and a higher quality of life in coffee-farming communities.
At Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR), we are committed to incorporating Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) into both our business practices and philanthropic initiatives. As part of our efforts, we donate a portion of our pre-tax profits every year to support socially and environmentally responsible initiatives. And in 2011, we were named the largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee in the world, a reflection of our commitment to high-quality coffee and a higher quality of life in coffee-farming communities.
You can learn more about our CSR commitments at Brewing A Better World.
Keurig, Incorporated, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GMCR, sells the Keurig® and Vue® single cup brewing systems as well as K-Cup® and Vue® packs of coffee, tea, cocoa and other beverages. Reducing the environmental impact of these packaging materials and brewing systems is a top priority for us.
We conducted life cycle analysis studies to learn more about the environmental impact of our products. What we learned is the disposal of a product's packaging represents a fraction of the total environmental impact. Significant impacts occur in the cultivation of coffee beans, use of brewing systems, and material used in the products' packaging. We take all impacts seriously and are continuously working to reduce our environmental footprint.
The manufacturing requirements of the K-Cup® pack currently make recycling difficult. The K-Cup® pack is made up of three main elements: the cup itself, a filter and an aluminum foil top. The pack's components prevent oxygen, light and moisture from degrading the coffee. Without the barrier the packaging materials provide, we could not maintain quality or freshness. However, we are actively working to meet the challenge of creating a pack that reduces environmental impact and continues to deliver an extraordinary cup of coffee.
The K-Cup® and Vue® brewing systems operate differently and therefore have different requirements for materials. The current plastic used in our Vue® pack cups can be recycled wherever polypropylene/#5 plastic is accepted. Today, about half of communities in the United States accept #5 plastic for recycling, and that number is increasing. The Vue® brewing system is an incremental step on our journey to reduce the environmental impact of our products and allows for future improvements as material science evolves. To learn more about recycling the Vue® pack's plastic cups, please visit www.vuerecycling.com.
Other Initiatives to Reduce Environmental Impact
We have taken additional steps in design, packaging, and energy use to reduce the environmental impact of the Keurig® brewing systems, including:
- Introducing nested packaging for our K-Cup® packs, which we estimate will reduce distribution-related greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20%, and decrease volume of packaging by 30%.
- Launching two pilot programs in our Away From Home channel that divert brewed K-Cup® packs from landfills.
- Offering the My K-Cup® product, a reusable filter assembly that can be refilled by the consumer. My K-Cup® is easily cleaned and compatible with all home K-Cup® brewing systems sold today.
- Piloting a K-Cup® pack for tea made with paper, a renewable resource, in 2010.
- Including recycling codes in our brewers to facilitate responsible disposal of the recyclable parts of our home brewing systems and to ensure compliance with the RoHS Directive, a set of European regulations designed to reduce the effect of electronic equipment on the waste stream.
- Providing considerable energy savings through Auto-Off features for our At Home brewing systems (excluding the MINI and MINI Plus).
K-Cup® and Vue® packs do not contain BPA and are constructed using FDA-approved food safe materials. We also use FDA-approved food safe materials in our K-Cup® and Vue® brewing systems, and neither system contains BPA within its water paths (as of January 1, 2010 for our K-Cup® system).
Driving Toward Solutions
All companies have sustainability challenges, a tension between where they are today and where they want to be with respect to sustainability issues - we're no different in that respect. What we believe makes us different is how we address that challenge – by embracing it, by running towards it, and using that tension to drive us toward new solutions.
GMCR Brewing A Better World
Addressing Our Environmental Impact - The Keurig® Brewing Systems
Communications' Specialist – Corporate Social Responsibility