We Heart the Green Cafe Network

There’s a new nonprofit darling on the coffee industry scene, and we think they’re pretty great. Actually, they’re not that new: the Green Cafe Network has been around for a while, but they’re really gaining momentum, and we at Barista Magazine are excited to support them.

Check out their list of goals:

  • To make aggregate reductions in waste, energy, water and emissions through changes in café practices and individual lifestyles.
  • To continuously increase public environmental literacy and citizen action through cafe communities and the coffeehouse industry.
  • To collaborate with coffee shops, individuals and organizations from diverse neighborhoods of the Bay Area and beyond, striving for our work to be accessible to all communities.
  • To lead the movement to green the entire specialty coffee shop industry (which is still growing) and make environmental responsibility a standard practice for restaurant operations.
  • And to use our network of cafes and supporters to:
    – Influence product supply chains,
    – Promote social justice and the green jobs movement
    – Influence policy,
    – Inspire citizen action; and…
    Bring sustainability to the mainstream.

The main mama of the Green Cafe Network is Kirsten, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Coffee Fest Seattle recently. She told me about what the Green Cafe Network does: first of all, they work with independently owned coffeehouses to help them to reduce their ecological impacts and become certified green businesses. Second, the Green Cafe Network educates and inspires the staffs and communities of these green cafes so they can transfer green practices and environmental responsibility.

This is what it’s all about: “The approach of the Green Café Network is to build on the influence of key institutions – neighborhood cafes and Americans’ infatuation with coffee – in order to raise environmental awareness and spur individual action. To this end, we believe that when people see their local café as a positive example of green business practices and community building, there is a ripple effect – where a community is strengthened through individual action and neighborhood cohesion. Through tapping into American’s daily coffee ritual and the culture associated with it, we are breaking new ground in the field of environmental education while also making measurable reductions in environmental impacts from the café industry itself.  Green Café Network is dedicated to keeping a grassroots approach while maintaining its broader vision of community-building and social change through the widespread greening of neighborhood cafes.”

On the organization’s website, different cafes that are working to be more environmentally friendly and run sustainable, earth friendly businesses are being showcased on a regular basis. I was excited to read about a cafe that sounds totally awesome called the Actual Cafe in Oakland, where both bikers and their bikes are welcomed into the cozy cafe space.

So far, the Green Cafe Network is primarily situated in the San Francisco Bay Area. But it’s growing. I encourage you to check out the website and learn more about it. Also, if you’re looking to learn more about how to be a greener cafe owner, check out the discussions taking place regularly on Barista Exchange, sponsored by the Green Cafe Network.  You can view the last two webinars that took place by clicking here.

Stay tuned to Barista Magazine for more news and developments coming from the Green Cafe Network—we think you’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the future!

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.