CARBON NEUTRAL FOR FOUR YEARS RUNNING & NET ZERO 2040 AMBITION
Alan Beattie, Sustainability Analyst
Four Years of Carbon Neutral Roasting
More than four years ago, Matthew Algie became the first roaster to achieve the Carbon Neutral International Standard.
We work with One Carbon World (OCW) to independently verify our carbon footprint. This measurement determines the number of carbon credits that we need to retire, or in other words, what carbon removal projects we need to invest in, in order to balance our emissions to a neutral state.
In this article, we examine our progress in reducing emissions and introduce our broader 'net zero by 2040' strategy.
Why it Matters?
The climate is changing. The planet has had eight cycles of ice ages and warmer periods in the last 800,000 years alone. The end of last ice age was around 11,700 years ago which marked the beginning of the modern climate that we are all accustomed to. However, since the middle of the 1800s, around 170 years ago, the planet has been warming at a rate that has not been seen over recent millennia. This is primarily due to human-produced emissions and atmospheric gases that trap more of the Sun’s energy which has warmed our atmosphere, our oceans and land. These are called greenhouse gases due to the greenhouse effect they have on the planet.
All of these GHG emissions are contributing to the changes in our climate which, by 2050, is predicted will cause a 50% reduction in the land that is suitable for coffee growing. Therefore, it is our responsibility to limit our emissions and ultimately our contribution to global warming. To meet the target of limiting warming to 1.5°C in line with Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change’s recommendation, we, alongside other businesses, governments, global industry and the wider society will need to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
Our 2021 Carbon Footprint
We measure emissions in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol which splits emissions into 3 categories: scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3.
Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions that relate to emissions released directly from our facilities.
Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions that relate to the emissions that are indirectly produced by electricity producers to power our own operations.
Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions that relate to everything else in our value chain from business travel to waste generated in our operations.
The utility usage information currently relates to our main site roastery in Glasgow as we do not have accurate data for our training premises in Dublin or London. The indirect, Scope 3 emissions include business travel, hotel accommodation, water consumption, waste, “well-to-tank” fuel usage, fuel consumption in vehicles, and product distribution.
Our most recent emissions reporting year looked at the 2021 period (January to December). Our total emissions for this period were 1,872 tCO2e (see Figure 1) which is up from 1,740 tCO2e in 2020.
However, taking into consideration that there was less coffee roasted in 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19 and the fact that many employees were still on the government furlough scheme, these higher 2021 emissions were to be expected. When we look at the emissions produced relative to the amount of coffee roasted, our emissions were in fact lower. In 2020, 0.00173 tCO2e were produced per kg of roasted coffee and in 2021 this figure was 0.00145 tCO2e which represents a 16% relative decrease in emissions (see Figure 2).
Consistent with the findings for the past couple of years, there are two key areas contributing more than 50% of our greenhouse gas emissions – namely, fuel used in leased vehicles for field staff and our gas usage at our roastery (see Figure 3). Sitting behind this are three other key areas also contributing significantly to our footprint – electricity, liquid nitrogen and product deliveries. A key difference in our emissions since the COVID-19 pandemic is that our travel by plane has significantly decreased. In 2019 the emissions relating to travel by plane accounted for 207 tonnes CO2e, equating to 8% of our footprint. In 2021, the emissions associated with travel by plane were reduced to 13 tCO2e, or 1% of our footprint overall.
We’re proud of the progress we’ve made in recent years to start measuring our emissions and to start exploring our indirect impact through our Scope 3 emissions. The next step for Matthew Algie is to ensure we measure all of our emissions across our value chain and get a more accurate picture of the overall impact that we have as a business. That includes the emissions, for example, involved with picking and delivering coffee beans to the port in Peru as well as emissions involved with our customer’s waste. This more holistic baseline will act as the starting point for our plans to achieve Net Zero.
We have internally launched our Net Zero by 2040 roadmap which will see us achieve 10 years ahead of the UK Government’s target and 5 years ahead of the Scottish Government’s target. What does net zero actually mean? It means that all of the emissions that are associated with Mathew Algie’s operations and value chain (including what was the Coffee Service Group) are reduced as much as possible and the remaining emissions are balanced through carbon removal offsetting and in-setting projects. This will allow us to play our part in limiting global warming to 1.5°C which will avert the worst impacts of climate change. By 2035, we will be net zero across our own operations. By 2040, we will be net zero across our entire value chain.
Watch this space for full details of our Net Zero by 2040 ambition!
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About Alan Beattie
Sustainability Analyst at Matthew Algie
Alan studied International Supply Chain Management followed by a Master’s in Environment and Sustainable Development at the University of Glasgow. He built up his experience in sustainability through a Sustainability Coffee Placement in the Dominican Republic before moving into his first sustainability-related role with the Scottish Government. He joined Matthew Algie as Sustainability Analyst at the beginning of 2022.
Alan supports the Sustainability Manager in coordinating the company’s approach to sustainability and has a key role in developing our Net Zero by 2040 strategy, collaborating with coffee producers and designing projects to help alleviate the environmental, social and economic issues that face producers today.