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Impact Report 2021

We envision a better future for the entire coffee industry – one that is sustainable for the environment, equitable for farmers, and accessible to all communities.

2021 Highlights

Responsible Sourcing

Our values

We buy every coffee in accordance with our responsible buying principles ‑ farmer‑centric pricing, gender equity, transparency, ongoing relationships and investing in farm communities. These core values inform every aspect of our coffee buying and are the pillars on which we bring this coffee to you.

Our buying principles

Farmer-centric Pricing

We are committed to raising the industry standard by paying farmers equitable prices that enable them to earn a living income.

Our buying principles

Ongoing relationships

We develop direct relationships with our farm partners and work to sign year-after-year contracts, providing long-term stability to help farm communities thrive.

Our buying principles

Gender Equity

We buy coffee from women producers whenever possible, providing financial empowerment to women across our supply chain.

Our buying principles

Invest in farm communities

We provide financial resources directly to our farm partners, enabling them to fund projects that support their local communities.

Our buying principles

Transparency

We foster 2-way transparency with our farm and retail partners to create more accountability and trust across the coffee supply chain.
Farmer Equity

Signed the first ever contract for living income coffee

Increasing farmer livelihoods

Verified Living Income

Despite the rising price of retail coffee, 80% of the world’s coffee farmers still live below the poverty line. In partnership with Heifer International and Sustainable Harvest, Bellwether Coffee launched Verified Living Income—a new pricing model designed to meet coffee farmers’ livelihood needs and disrupt the cycle of poverty at the source. VLI determines the minimum price farmers need to be paid for their coffee to earn a living income.
Increasing farmer livelihoods

Verified Living Income

In 2021, Bellwether launched a pilot with ASOPEP, a cooperative in Colombia, who produces the Magia del Campo coffee in our Marketplace where we signed our first contract rooted in living income‑based pricing—20% higher than our previous contract. Bellwether is committed to replicating this pricing methodology across all of our supply chains by 2025.
Invest in farm communities

$12,000 distributed directly to farmers

Investing in farm communities

Tip the Farmer

Tip the Farmer™ is a turnkey impact program that economically empowers coffee farmers and builds a direct connection for coffee drinkers to pay a ‘tip’ to the producer behind each cup. Tip the Farmer™ is not a substitution for paying higher wages — our Sustainable Buying Principles ensure farmers receive fair wages. We launched Tip the Farmer™ to enable coffee drinkers to have a more direct relationship with, and impact on, coffee farmers, and give coffee farmers agency to choose how to invest extra money where needed.
Investing in farm communities

Farmer recipients

This year’s Tip The Farmer recipients were Finca Churupampa and ACODIHUE’s Manos de Mujer.
Finca Churupampa, with the support of Tip the Farmer, received $5000 which enabled 20 coffee‑producing families to build gardens and raise small animals to ensure a healthy and adequate diet.
Manos de Mujer spent their Tip the Farmer funds to implement a dental hygiene program for coffee producers who lacked adequate dental care.
Transparency

Auditing our green coffee

To support transparency in our coffee supply chain, we developed a scorecard with a tiered‑rating system to identify opportunities to continuously improve our purchasing practices. Using the scorecard, we conducted our first audit of our purchasing practices in 2021.

2/3

Relationship coffees make up over 2/3 of our purchasing

36%

36% of coffees were purchased using Living Income Pricing

23%

23% of our coffees were produced by women

Environmental Sustainability

Coffee roasting currently accounts for 15% of the carbon footprint of the coffee industry and with the U.S. producing over 8 billion pounds of coffee every year, the harmful impact of carbon intensive, traditional gas‑powered roasting is not sustainable for our planet or for coffee farmers’ future. At Bellwether, we believe that we must advocate for the widespread adoption of electric and distributed roasting to reduce our carbon footprint.
Reducing the carbon footprint of coffee

A sustainable future for the coffee industry

Gas roasting contributes large amounts of CO₂ and Methane into the atmosphere, creating climate impacts that affect both farmers and coffee roasting communities

Keeping a car off the road for 0 miles

0 tons of waste recycled instead of landfilled

0 lbs of carbon reduced is equal to:

Turning off electricty in 0 homes for an entire year

2M pounds

of carbon saved

the future is electric - roasting on a bellwether reduces 87% of the carbon footprint from roasting

Understanding your impact

Carbon calculator for retailers

In 2021, we built a calculator for measuring potential carbon savings from switching to electric roasting to empower retailers to make sustainable choices for their business. The calculator measures the greenhouse gas emissions avoided from roasting on a Bellwether Roaster compared to a traditional natural gas‑powered roaster.
Any coffee retailer can significantly reduce their carbon footprint by roasting electric, reducing delivery miles, reducing packaging, and making business decisions to support the environment. We support the electrification and decentralization of the coffee industry to reduce our carbon footprint and preserve a healthy planet for future generations.

Measure Your Impact

Roasting 0 

pounds of coffee each year on a Bellwether Roaster saves

(compared to roasting on a traditional natural gas powered roaster)

 0 

Pounds of CO₂ emissions
which is equivalent to:
keeping a car off the road for  0  miles
turning off electricity for  0  homes
recycling  0  tons of waste

Accessibility

Increasing access

Bellwether Roast Accelerator

Coffee retailers everywhere face challenges to make the economics of their business work. These challenges can be exacerbated for business owners who hold marginalized identities who may face magnified barriers to the financing and capital required to start and grow their businesses. At Bellwether, accessibility to roasting is central to our vision to create a more sustainable future for the coffee industry.
Increasing access

Roast Accelerator

In 2021 we launched Roast Accelerator, an impact program to reduce barriers to roasting. Roast Accelerator provides a Bellwether Roaster at zero upfront cost and a full year of subsidized monthly roaster rent. Participants also receive all the support, guidance, and business tools enjoyed by Bellwether customers through our Customer Success team.
Our first recipient

Verb Coffee Roasters

The first Roast Accelerator recipient is Mir Marshall, the Owner and Coffee Director at Verb Coffee Roasters, a small‑batch coffee roasting company operating out of Atlanta’s West End. According to Mir, they don’t see themselves reflected in the coffee industry and hope that their visibility leads to greater representation.

Impact At Home

Impact begins within Bellwether both as a company and a community. We continue to invest in the internal development of our employees while acting as good stewards and neighbors to our Berkeley community. In 2021, we achieved this by conducting an internal pay equity audit to ensure fair wages for our employees, held company wide trainings on workplace diversity, equity and inclusion, and donated thousands of pounds of coffee to local food banks.
Impact at home

Implementing our values within the Bellwether community

Ensuring fair wages for all

Pay equity audit

In 2021, we hired Gallagher, a firm with extensive experience developing and updating pay equity plans for companies. Gallagher created job values for each position at Bellwether and Bellwether adjusted staff salaries to align with equity recommendations proposed by the audit.
Inclusivity within Bellwether

Diversity, equity and inclusion

We are constantly improving our workplace inclusivity. In 2021, we hired Ready Set to conduct two workshops for Bellwether employees on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The first workshop was open to all Bellwether employees and focused on DEI fundamentals and creating the conditions for ongoing conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion. The second workshop was for managers within Bellwether to be more effective and inclusive people managers. Participants gained a toolkit of ideas to help them manage diverse staff teams.
Helping employees thrive

Inclusive people management

In addition to managerial training, we continued to nurture a culture of inclusivity within Bellwether teams by doubling down on our commitment to the adoption of gender‑neutral language, using preferred pronouns in email signatures, maintaining non‑binary restrooms with non‑binary signage, and implementing family‑inclusive policies that provides 16 weeks of leave for any new parent.
Supporting local communities

Coffee donation program

Manufacturing a roaster requires a lot of testing and a lot of test coffee. In 2021, we launched a partnership with the Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB) to donate our test coffee and keep thousands of pounds of coffee out of the compost bin. ACCFB distributes enough food to serve 70,000+ people a day. In 2021, Bellwether donated 6,228 pounds of coffee. We are proud to continue supporting the hunger‑relief efforts of ACCFB.

2021 marked a year where we doubled down on our impact.

We launched a groundbreaking new equitable pricing model for coffee farmers, created new investments in accessible roasting for underrepresented coffee retailers across the United States, and kept millions of pounds of CO₂ from being emitted into the atmosphere across our fleet of roasters.
As a company, we saw the light at the end of the tunnel and were able to see each other again safely in person. We are excited to share our 2021 Sustainability Report and look forward to making the coffee industry more sustainable, equitable, and accessible for all.
Thank you for joining us in creating a better, more sustainable future for coffee.
Team Bellwether
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