Dear Green Ltd: A circular economy case study

9 May 2018

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Written by: Lisa Lawson, Founder of Dear Green Coffee

Founded in late 2011 with no working capital or investment, Dear Green Ltd was a labour of love which has risen from humble beginnings.

Image of guest blog writer Lisa Lawson

Guest blog writer Lisa Lawson

A one-women business to with the goal of introducing Glasgow to freshly roasted, traceable, ethically sourced, high-quality coffee began. Managing cash flow was key to the sustainable future of the business and instinctively associated the company with ethical choices which has become an integral part of the company’s culture.

Now an eight strong team and in its seventh year those personal ethics which resulted in crucial financial savings in the early days created an infrastructure and a mission aligning well with the social behaviours of the wider coffee industry and had a positive economical impact on Dear Greens business future.

As a start up business, early decisions had to be creative, the first desk in the roastery was made from breeze blocks and discarded ply from the neighbouring architects office! Furniture in the Dear Green Cafe Project was made from surplus wood from Stephen Murray’s ‘The Comedown’ Sculpture in the Briggait with crockery and cutlery being from a grandparents house clearance.

The very heartbeat of the company, the first coffee roaster itself, a Probat was given a second life having already been used in Denmark before landing in Glasgow.

A theme of recycle and reuse set the foundations for the culture and mission of Dear Green and influences the day-to-day aspects of a circular economy at Dear Green in 2018. We work with the Glasgow Allotment Association to help find a route to composting for our coffee chaff (a byproduct from the roasting process). We work with Revive to uplift our used coffee grinds to turn into coffee compost and sell on. We sell our used coffee sacks for a charitable donation to Girls Gotta Run and encourage reuse in upcycling projects. Our new state of the art roastery is energy efficient. If we have coffee which doesn’t meet our QC standards we donate it to the Glasgow City Mission. We don’t waste one handpicked bean! We sell and promote the use of reusable cups. We organise Glasgow Coffee Festival and this year, we have proudly created the first disposable cup free coffee festival in collaboration with KeepCup in a move to encourage a culture change and combat the 2.5 billion disposable cups which go to landfill each year. This year’s event is on on 19/20th May 2018 in The Briggait.

What’s more, we donate 1% of profits to World Coffee Research to invest in the sustainable future of the coffee plant. 2018 also sees us finally move to use the first available biodegradable coffee packaging thus managing our main plastic consumption.

Our recent carbon audit tells us that our travels to source coffee and the journey of our coffee beans to the Dear Green roastery have little impact on our footprint in comparison to how our staff travel to work. The Cycle to Work Scheme has made bikes more affordable to staff who cycle when they can.

Our choice of company name Dear Green is wonderfully coincidental? ‘Green’ is of course used in the coffee industry to describe the pre-roasted raw coffee seed, however ‘Glasgow’, was our main inspiration as it translates to English from Gaelic as “Dear Green Place”.

Proudly Glaswegian, Dear Green by name, definitely green by nature.