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Sustainability in the Coffee Industry Has a Lot of Room For Improvment

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Sustainability is an important factor in all industries and the coffee industry is no exception. The Earth's natural resources are being depleted at a faster rate than they can be replenished and we are already starting to feel the effects of it. This is why it is important for businesses to adopt sustainable habits. 

Unfortunately, according to an article by the Huffington Post, the majority of the coffee industry today is terrible for the environment. 

The problem is the majority of the coffee beans grown today are grown in full sunlight. Farmers clear land to make way for crops, destroying complex ecosystems that are home to lots of plants and animals, including trees and shrubs that fight global warming. The coffee plants ruin the soil quickly, forcing farmers to keep clearing land to provide nutrient soil for crops. 

However, there is a way to preserve the environment and have great coffee as well: shade-grown coffee plants. 

While shade-growing techniques provide coffee beans of equal quality to full-sun-- some say shade-grown actually tastes better--, they have a significantly smaller impact on the environment. The shade-providing trees also provide homes to wildlife, store carbon, and prevent soil erosion. The trees also keep the soil from being depleted of nutrients, so less space is needed to grow coffee. The trees also provide fruit and firewood to farmers. 

“Our scientists say a certified (shade-grown) coffee farm is the next best thing to rainforest,” said Chris Wille, the head of sustainable agriculture at Rainforest Alliance.

Green Dragon Roasters is a huge supporter of sustainable agricultural practices. For more information on how we promote sustainability, please contact us.


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