The Coffee Brew Index assesses the top 11 roasters based on key sustainability issues. The assessment surpasses a mere checklist of sustainability topics being addressed. Instead, it evaluates the depth of commitments and the extent to which they are integrated into the core-business and decision-making processes. Higher scores were awarded to companies demonstrating well-defined strategies across multiple dimensions of sustainability, setting specific time-bound goals, incorporating investments and activities into their supply chains, as well as maintaining continuous monitoring and public reporting on their sustainability objectives.

Scope and Focus

The categories selected are a reflection of the most pressing sustainability challenges in the coffee sector. Each component has been carefully unpacked and articulated with support of different thematic experts engaged with the Coffee Barometer initiative. We looked into 4 categories:

1) Sustainability Strategy
2) Social Conditions & Inclusion
3) Environment

4) Sustainable Purchasing & Economic Conditions

Data used

To conduct the assessment, we assessed the contents of corporate annual or sustainability reports, as well as any accompanying documents or sets of public information directly linked to these reports. We assessed the latest documentation available for each company, using a cut-off date of May 1st 2023 to consider reports or publications as part of this year’s assessment.

Company Engagement

Following the completion of the assessments, we shared the individual evaluations with the respective companies and extended an invitation for them to provide feedback. Acknowledging the valuable contribution made by companies in engaging with our assessment, we are grateful for the proactive involvement and comments provided by the majority of roasters. Please note that KraftHeinz did not respond to the invitation to participate in the evaluation process. Contact was established just one week before the publication date, which made it impossible to include any potential feedback in this year’s edition.

Limitations of current research

In acknowledging this is our first attempt to score the performance of each company, we recognize that there are different improvement areas we will consider for a next edition.

This relates to a current bias towards a “more is better” approach in certain cases. For example, higher scores were assigned for more certified volume, increased engagement with MSIs, and a broader range of investments in specific sustainability thematic areas. We recognize that certifications are not always tied to better sustainability performance and that more engagements do not necessarily speak to the quality or depth of those engagements. We understand the shortcomings of this current scoring methodology and intend to evolve over time to better evaluate the quality and depth of these engagements and investments.

In addition, for some companies it was difficult to properly assess whether certain investments were tied directly to the supply chain or even origins from which the company sourced. Compounded to that, were companies that made coffee farming or community sustainability investments through their charitable or foundation arms. These investments may or may not have involved their supply chain or origins and/or may have been aggregated with completely different types of charitable investments. This is another shortcoming of this current assessment that we intend to evolve over time, which may unintentionally distort some results.

Download Full Methodology

If you want to learn more about the methodolgy, the list of indicators assessed and the scoring structure behind the results  check out the Coffee Brew Index Scoring Rubric.

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