Saturday, March 22, 2014
A Not-So-Green Mountain
More than one green coffee importer (don't worry, you shall remain nameless) privately refers to Green Mountain Coffee (now renamed Keurig Green Mountain) as "Greenwash Mountain," and that's certainly a succinct and accurate description of the company's long-standing marketing strategy, using its sizable Fair Trade and organic volume to deflect attention from its actual main business: selling commercial coffee, much of it artificially flavored, in ecologically disastrous K Cups, to convenience stores and the like.
The graphic above comes from this Mother Jones article, one of many over the years to highlight the high price the planet pays for consumer convenience.
Now while it looks like Green Mountain has plans to address this issue by the end of the decade, I found it interesting that the Rodgers Family Company has already done so:
97% compostable K-Cup style capsule
If you haven't heard of JBR you really ought to check out not just this article and video but their whole web site. They do a ton of business with Costco and other big box stores, own the Organic Coffee Company and other brands and in general have their fingers on the concerns and values of U.S. consumers who brew good coffee at home on a daily basis.
They're a family-run company with very little media presence, but they roast a huge volume of coffee, own 6 coffee farms and counting, and have been doing great things at origin for a long time. They probably roast more coffee in a month than all of today's Third Wave players put together do in a year, and have infinitely greater positive impact at origin. It's a big world out there in coffee, and other than their web site (which you'd have to work to find as a consumer) these guys seem to have no budget for promoting their good works through the kind of self-congratulatory marketing that we see so much of these days. Sounds like when it comes to walking the talk on being green rather than just having the word as part of your name they could teach both Green Mountain and The Green Menace (Gary Talboy's immortal nickname for Starbucks) some lessons.