Browsing Category

Sustainable Businesses

Sustainable Businesses

Foreword Coffee – Coffee With A Conscience

But first, coffee – this is the motto for all the coffee lovers around the world and we definitely do love our coffee fix! In Singapore, you can find your daily supply of coffee from a range of places – our local coffee shop, cafes, Starbucks and many others. But how easy is it to find a coffee roaster that serves coffee with a conscience? Well, look no further, as this is where Foreword Coffee comes in!

Founded in August 2017 at 8 College Ave East, Foreword Coffee is a coffee roaster that envisions a world unprejudiced to the differences between people. It concentrates on finding a sustainable solution to empower persons with special needs and also to be an advocate for the community. Hence, allowing the social stigma which the society holds towards the persons with disabilities (PWD) community to be broken. In addition, Foreword Coffee aspire to be a “good” and “sustainable” company from cherry to the cup.

So, if you have yet been to their shop, here are a few reasons why you should check them out!

Environment Advocates

How rare is it to find a coffee roaster that is plastic free?

The steps taken by Foreword Coffee to be plastic free is:

  1. Serving their cold drinks in paper cups
  2. Having a no straws policy (PS they sell reusable straws too!)

Besides that, Foreword Coffee educates and encourages their customers to adopt a more sustainable coffee drinking culture by bringing their own cups. Foreword Coffee is part of the BYO Singapore initiative which encourages their customers to bring their own cups for their takeaways by offering a 10% discount.

Did we forget to mention that their used coffee grounds are turned into compost?

Hence, Foreword Coffee regards the environment of great importance and aims to strive for a more sustainable coffee consumption culture here in Singapore.

 

Empowering Those With Disabilities

When you order your coffee from Foreword Coffee, you might notice something special about their employees. Foreword Coffee currently employs a barista who is deaf and is also training an autistic youth to be a barista. What is the reasoning behind this decision? Well, Foreword Coffee believes strongly in empowering people with disabilities. This is evident through the design in their workplace in which they create a workflow to suit their abilities and encourage interaction between the general public and the disability community.

Moving forward, Foreword Coffee is looking to expand their social impact by training and hiring more persons with disabilities and eventually convincing more cafes to hire them as well.

 

Green Coffee!

You might be thinking, green coffee = sustainable coffee? We made that silly mistake too! Instead, green coffee refers to raw coffee. Foreword Coffee imports green coffee directly from producers or cooperatives that work with the farmers directly as compared to other businesses which might buy from coffee importers (the middleman between producers and coffee roasters). Through the direct purchase of raw coffee beans, more money is transferred to the farmers which ultimately helps to improve the lives of the farmers in Asia.

The focus on Asian speciality coffee that Foreword Coffee offers is something different from other cafes in Singapore, which usually bring in American and African coffees. Foreword Coffee believes in the potential of our Asian counterpart and currently serve Yunnan (China) and Xam Nuea (Laos) coffee.

 

With that, check out Foreword Coffee’s Instagram and Facebook page and do drop them a visit in NUS!

Sustainable Businesses

Ecosia: The Search Engine That Plants Trees

Imagine being able to help to restore a forest, just by searching something on the Internet. How is that even possible?

Well, look no further! The answer is Ecosia – a search engine that plants trees with its advertisement revenue. Every month, Ecosia donates at least 80% of their profits to tree planting programmes. With a mission to plant 1 billion trees by 2020, we delve further into how this search engine works and what you can do to help them achieve their mission.

 

How does it work?

All it takes to get started is by searching anything you want on their search engine. All of Ecosia’s search results are powered by Bing which is US second largest search engine owned by Microsoft.

The first few results that you obtain which are indicated “Ad” are the advertisements which help Ecosia generate revenue. By clicking on those results indicated with “Ad”, you can help to increase Ecosia’s revenue!

How many trees have I planted?

On the top right-hand corner, you will notice a tree counter. The tree counter indicates the number of searches that you have performed with Ecosia. Since not every user will click on an advertisement, Ecosia earns an average of 0.5 EUR cents per search. Hence, it takes an average of 45 web searches to fund the planting of a tree as it costs about 0.22 EUR cents to plant one tree!

Where are the trees being planted?

Ecosia looks to support projects in the 25 most threatened forest ecosystems, otherwise defined as biodiversity hotspots. To classify as one, a region must meet the following conditions:

  1. At least 1,500 species of vascular plants (>0.5% of the world’s total) are endemic
  2. At least 70% of the original natural vegetation has been lost

Hence, through this approach, Ecosia has identified 35 biodiversity hotspots as locations where it wants to plant trees. A few examples of these regions are Indonesia, Tanzania, Madagascar and Peru. Read more about the specific tree projects here!

How transparent are they?

Every month, Ecosia will issue a financial report detailing their total income for the month and the amount used to invest into their tree planting efforts (As shown below)

They also provide information about the payment for various tree planting projects and the number of trees that are being planted.

What is the current impact of Ecosia?

As of November 2017, Ecosia has planted over 15 million trees!

What can I do?

It is simple! Just make Ecosia your default search engine! Find out how to do so here.

Sustainable Businesses

Nespresso’s Sustainability Actions

Without a doubt, all of us know Nespresso for its spokesperson, George Clooney. But besides their unique use of capsule and aromatic coffee, there are a few things that Nespresso is doing in regards to sustainability that you probably didn’t know of:

1. Closing the loop

Did you know that aluminium is one of the natural resources that can be recycled infinitely? It also provides the best protection against oxygen, light and humidity which causes it to be the best material to be used for Nespresso’s capsules. Aluminium requires up to 95% less energy to recycle than to produce primary metals. Since it is 100% recyclable, these capsules can be given a second life and transformed into drink cans, bicycles or computers. Nespresso collects back these capsules and you can find the collection points here!

2. Recycling has never been so convenient!

So if you find it a hassle to travel down to the stores to recycle your aluminium capsules, fret not, as there is another alternative. You can fill up their recycling bag with the used capsules and hand it to the delivery man on your next order. And did we mention? The recycling bag is free!

3. Paying it forward

This year, Nespresso embarked on a partnership with The Food Bank Singapore to encourage coffee lovers to pay it forward by recycling their used Nespresso capsules. Each time you recycle your used capsules, you are providing approximately one meal to a person in need.

4. Save every resource

So what happens to your capsules after use? Well, the aluminium capsules would be recycled while the used coffee grounds are sent to a local farm (Quan Fa Organic Farm) as compost for vegetable farming. The use of coffee grounds improves drainage, aerates the soil and acts as a natural pest repellent.

 

To find out about other actions Nespresso is taking in terms of sustainability, click here!

Sustainable Businesses Sustainable Living

IKEA’s Sustainable Living Home Tour

When we say “IKEA”, the first word that comes to everyone’s mind is – Meatballs! Yes, IKEA is known for introducing Swedish food (our favourite!) and interior design to Singapore.

But do you know, IKEA is also one of the top leaders in driving sustainability efforts? By 2020, the IKEA group aims to run its entire business on renewable energy and produce as much renewable energy as it consumes! Within Singapore, IKEA has a countless number of initiatives to show their commitment towards sustainability such as being MSC certified, recycling waste to biofuel and banning the sale of plastic bags.

IKEA recently launched their Sustainable Living Home Tour, which allows the public to experience how a family living in a 55 square room apartment can take small actions towards sustainable living. Our team was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to participate in the tour. Here are some of the products that have come to our attention as both sustainable and stylish!

1. Joxtorp 

So on the first glance, you might think this is a normal lamp shade made out of polyester or steel. But when you take a closer look, it is actually made out of paper! At least 80% of this product is made of paper and it comes in other colours such as orange.

A complementary item that can match this lamp shade is a LED light bulb which you can also find in IKEA. Since 2016, all light bulbs being sold at IKEA are LED use up to 85% less energy than conventional bulbs and can last up to 20 years!

2. Variera/Utrusta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of our favourite items would have to be the Variera/Utrusta, which is a waste sorting bins for the cabinet. As mentioned by the IKEA staff, 9 out of 10 households do not sort their waste and we believe these bins will encourage sorting and also make it easier for the household. Also, these bins are made of recycled polypropylene plastic!

3. Ärenpris 

Look at fluffy pillow! Would you have guessed that they are made out of recycled plastic? The filling in these pillows from 100% recycled PET bottles and they feel the same as other pillows (Trust us, we tried it out). What a meaningful innovation!

4. Pahl

For those of you who have children, this is probably one of the most thoughtful furniture designed by IKEA. This desk allows you to adjust its height to three different levels, with the maximum height being 72cm. So, instead of having to buy a new desk everytime your child grows taller, you now have a desk that grows with your child!

 

Besides all these products above, IKEA has a wide variety of other products which are designed with sustainability in mind. Share with us which of their products is your favourite and why!