23 October 2012

Changes To Our Coffee

We’re pleased to announce that as early as January 2013, the USU will be changing its coffee to beans that are Rainforest Alliance certified and 100% organic. Our decision to move to socially sustainable coffee is just one way we’re hoping to improve our CSR practices.

For some time now, students have been telling us they want socially responsible coffee. This came to a head with 2010’s referendum on Fair Trade initiated by the student group Fairly Educated. At the time, we were locked into a coffee contract so could not make immediate changes to our coffee.

When our coffee contract came up for review this year, we decided to put out a call for socially responsible coffee suppliers. The tender process was vigorous with suppliers asked to respond to an extensive list of questions formulated by the Tertiary Access Group (a non-profit cooperative providing Australian universities with commercial support), as well as additional questions developed by Fairly Educated.

We established an internal Coffee Working Party to compare the responses from the ten companies who replied to the tender. Our main aim was to ensure our final supplier of choice would not source beans from farmers who exploited ethical labour standards. After a long process including consultation with Fairly Educated, the Board voted to award the contract to our current supplier, Cantarella Bros., a 100 per cent Australian owned company. We will be sticking with the Vittoria brand, but supplying beans that are ethically sourced.

This decision is just the beginning of our move towards a more socially responsible USU. The majority of our products will go through TAG’s questioning process to ensure that when you buy something from the Union, you are doing a good thing for workers and the environment.

I’m currently working with the Board and other USU staff members to review our environmental practices and expand our CSR strategy. Already, there have been many exciting ideas discussed, so watch this space for more info.

If you would like more information on our coffee and social responsibility at the USU, please contact me at: t.raue@usu.usyd.edu.au

Tom Raue
Board Director

1 comment :

  1. Great news Tom; congratulations on taking this stand.

    May I suggest a further improvement; I recently bought a coffee at one of your Camperdown campus outlets. I had my environmentally friendly travelling coffee mug and lid with me but when I asked if I could buy my take away coffee in it, I was very disappointed to hear that, apart from disposable cups, the staff would only put my coffee in a USU mug! The cafe staff member made my coffee in a disposable cup and watched me pour it into my mug at the counter.

    The sale of USU merchandise seems to be winning over environmental concerns on that issue. I am currently purchasing coffee from other outlets on campus that support the use of travelling coffee mugs.

    I wonder if this is a concern for others?