My Radicle Climate Smart Journey - Counter Culture Coffee

Publication Date

February 1, 2022

Overview

Becoming Climate Smart Certified is a journey. It is a journey to discovering and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a journey to cost savings, and a journey that helps businesses realize that every organization can make a difference to the planet’s well-being, no matter their size or industry.

My Radicle Climate Smart Journey - Counter Culture Coffee

Becoming Climate Smart Certified is a journey. It is a journey to discovering and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a journey to cost savings, and a journey that helps businesses realize that every organization can make a difference to the planet’s well-being, no matter their size or industry.

So what is the Climate Smart Journey like? We asked trailblazing businesses a few questions about the process and what it’s like to become a sustainability leader through the Climate Smart program. Let’s dive in with Katie Carguilo, Coffee Manager at Counter Culture Coffee.

Meet Counter Culture Coffee!

Founded in 1995, Counter Culture Coffee has evolved from a small roastery in Durham, N.C., to one of the largest independent specialty coffee roasters in the United States. Counter Culture sources and roasts coffee from 18 countries and, in 2020, sold 2.4 million pounds to wholesale accounts (cafes, restaurants), grocery stores, and direct to consumers through their eCommerce site. They’re known for their values of quality, sustainability, and education and for creating the first-ever coffee transparency report in 2009, publishing an annual report every year since.

How would you describe your company's success with Climate Smart so far?

“The education component of Climate Smart’s services has been incredibly helpful. We have learned so much about not only what our company’s struggles are, but also how we should be approaching solutions. For example, the need for both structural and behavioural changes, and that setting a target has to come with a plan of action. I’m thrilled to be able to get more people into the courses so Climate Smart’s knowledge can permeate more areas of our organization!”

How does Climate Smart align with your company’s values?

“We’re a company that strives for measurable environmental, social, and fiscal sustainability in everything we do. Climate Smart has been invaluable in helping us measure our carbon footprint and understand what we can do to impact it. Plus, with the help of Climate Smart, we’ve been reporting on our carbon footprint in our annual Transparency Report since 2012.”

What would you say was the biggest challenge you faced?

“We’re known for our progressive coffee sourcing strategy, but it’s been harder to make improvements within the four walls of our business. Staff education and allocating company resources towards making sustainability improvements have been challenges for us over the years. In 2020, we became a Certified B Corp and this year, we are starting to work in Sustainability Teams, composed of departmental leaders and 5 to 10 staff members. Each team is meant to work on improving our sustainability impact in different areas of the business and to help foster cross-departmental conversation. I’m excited to be leading the environmental team and apply what I’ve learned through the Climate Smart courses to deepen our impact there.”

What motivates you to continue to get Climate Smart certified?

“Counter Culture wants to be a company that has a positive impact on the people in our value streams, the planet we inhabit, and also the coffee industry at large. We want to be an example of a way for a coffee business to be better. I don’t think you become that just by trying to reinvent the wheel of the industry: you become that through being good strategic thinkers and adapting while considering the perspective and experience of stakeholders who are themselves, subject matter experts. Climate Smart is that, in my eyes, in terms of climate action and is positioned to help us work towards our dream reality.

Counter Culture Coffee’s Climate Smart journey has only just begun, and we’re inspired by their determination and drive to make planet-positive changes.

If you’re ready to start your organization on its own Climate Smart journey and transform your business into a climate leader, our experts are ready to help you cut carbon, cut costs, and make a difference to the planet’s well-being.

Learn more about Radicle's Climate Smart Training and Certification

Help the planet. Become sustainable.