bio-bean a Best For The World™ B Corp 2022
Press Release: bio-bean recognised for the second year running as a Best For The World™ for exceptional impact on the Environment
Alconbury Weald, Cambridgeshire, UK, 13 July 2022 — bio-bean, the world’s expert in recycling spent coffee grounds, has once again been named a Best for the World™ B Corp™ in recognition of its exceptional positive impact on the environment. Best for the World is a distinction granted by B Lab to Certified B Corporations (B Corps) whose verified B Impact Scores in the five evaluated areas — community, customers, environment, governance, and workers — rank in the top 5% of all B Corps in their corresponding size group (10-49 people).
bio-bean earned this honour for the second year running because of its impact business model of recycling spent coffee grounds and transforming them into a variety of sustainable bio-products. The Cambridgeshire-based company works with existing waste management and logistics infrastructure to divert businesses’ spent coffee grounds from traditional disposal methods like landfill, anaerobic digestion, and incineration. The team then processes and upcycles the grounds, ready for reuse in the company’s various coffee-derived bio-products.
Since founding, bio-bean has processed just under 32,000 tonnes of spent coffee grounds. And as it turns out, their solution of recycling spent grounds into bio-products is better for the environment than all the other standard disposal methods (landfill, anaerobic digestion, and incineration). In fact, they save 228% more in greenhouse gas emissions versus spent grounds going to anaerobic digestion.
George May, Managing Director of bio-bean, had this to say of the company’s Best for the World recognition:
“Being recognised as a Best for the World B Corp in the Environment impact area for a second year is a huge honour for us. To be among the top 5% of more than 5,000 B Corps globally, and one of only 6 UK companies to be honoured for positive environmental impact is something we’re extremely proud of.
Environmental sustainability is at the heart of what we do, but we’re also focused on continuous improvement, including in our day-to-day operations. We will continue collaborating with the global B Corp community and others to improve and positively impact all our stakeholders, in every impact area.”
Every year, Best for the World recognizes the top-performing B Corps creating the greatest positive impact through their businesses. More than a badge of honour, Best for the World provides an opportunity for recognised companies to share knowledge, learnings, and best practices with the B Corp community and businesses outside of the community to encourage innovation and transformation across the business sector. The full lists are available at bcorporation.net.
The Best for the World recognition is administered by B Lab, the global non-profit network that certifies and mobilises B Corps, which are businesses that meet high standards of positive social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Today, there are more than 5,000 B Corps across 80 countries and 155 industries, unified by one common goal: building an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economic system.
“Each Best for the World edition is an opportunity to raise the bar for how businesses can and should operate to create real and lasting positive impact for their workers, customers, communities, and the environment,” said Dan Osusky, Head of Standards and Insights at B Lab Global. “While no company is perfect and even the best companies can and should continue to strive to improve, the B Corps recognised as Best for the World can provide us all — standards setters, B Corps, non B Corps, and sustainability advocates — with inspiration on what true leadership in business can look like to make progress on addressing our current global challenges.”
B Corp Certification doesn’t just evaluate a product or service, it assesses the overall social and environmental impact of the company that stands behind it. To achieve B Corp Certification, a company must meet a score of at least 80 points on the B Impact Assessment, an evaluation of a company’s positive impact, and pass a risk review, an evaluation of a company’s negative impact; change their corporate governance structure to be accountable to all stakeholders, not just shareholders; and exhibit transparency by allowing information about their B Corp Certification performance to be publicly available on their B Corp profile on B Lab’s website.
About bio-bean: bio-bean Limited is the world’s largest recycler of coffee grounds. Based in Cambridgeshire, bio-bean takes spent coffee grounds from businesses large and small across the UK and transforms them into value at an industrial scale, giving new life to a material previously considered waste. bio-bean manufactures sustainable products from spent coffee grounds for a range of markets, both consumer and industrial, saving businesses money, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and contributing to the circular economy. For more information on bio-bean, visit www.bio-bean.com.
About B Lab: B Lab is transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. A leader in economic systems change, our global network creates standards, policies, tools, and programs for business, and we certify companies — known as B Corps — who are leading the way. To date, our community includes 400,000 workers in over 5,000 B Corps across 80 countries and 155 industries, and more than 200,000 companies manage their impact with the B Impact Assessment and the SDG Action Manager. B Lab has created and led efforts to pass over 50 corporate statutes globally that enable stakeholder governance, with over 10,000 companies using the legal framework. To learn more and join the movement, visit www.bcorporation.net.
B Lab Contact: email@example.com
Our carbon footprint
We recently undertook a carbon footprint assessment through Eunomia Research & Consulting to determine our environmental impact.
With the urgent state of our climate emergency, it isn’t enough for businesses to simply say they’re eco-friendly, sustainable, or making a positive impact. People want to (and deserve to) know exactly what that means. And, rightly so, businesses must increasingly show evidence for environmental claims.
This includes us at bio-bean.
In 2021 Eunomia gathered data to create a carbon footprint analysis model for us. They included information on every step of our process and manufacturing, from the transport of spent coffee grounds to our recycling facility to the end usage of our highest selling products.
Our carbon impact
Eunomia’s results show that our total carbon footprint is -187kg CO2e for every tonne1 of spent grounds that we process. It’s a net negative impact, which is very much a positive! It basically means that for every tonne of spent coffee grounds we upcycle, we save 187kg CO2e versus those grounds being disposed of in traditional ways.
What is CO2e? It means carbon dioxide equivalent, which is a unit of measurement used to compare the emissions of various greenhouse gases. It’s a standard unit for measuring carbon footprints.
So, what does 187kg CO2e look like? It’s the equivalent of the emissions produced by 464 miles driven by an average car, or 22,747 smartphones charged. We save that much for every tonne of spent grounds we upcycle… and to date we’ve processed just under 32,000 tonnes of spent coffee grounds.
As it turns out, our solution of recycling spent coffee grounds into our various sustainable bio-products is better for the environment than all the other standard disposal methods (landfill, anaerobic digestion, and incineration). In fact, we save 228% more in greenhouse gas emissions versus spent grounds going to anaerobic digestion.
The carbon footprints of our products
And when it comes to the individual footprint of our primary products, Coffee Logs and Inficaf, you can see below that we save up to 1,030kg of CO2e for every tonne of spent grounds we process. This figure includes our processing and manufacturing and the end use of the product.
There really is no more sustainable solution for managing large volumes of spent coffee grounds than our recycling solution here at bio-bean. And with such significant value still present within the grounds after they’ve been brewed, it’s a shame to waste their potential by wastefully discarding them.
We give spent coffee grounds a second life. And even better, it’s easy for businesses to get on board.
We help businesses reduce their greenhouse gas emissions
Spent coffee grounds are a naturally clean by-product, segregated at source by baristas and bean-to-cup machines, and are readily identifiable. From the barista preparing the coffee and depositing the used grounds into specified bags or bins, through collections via your business’s waste management or logistics company, it’s a simple process with potentially high impact in reducing your greenhouse gas emissions.
The numbers speak for themselves. Not only are we the world’s largest coffee recycling company, we’re also best for the environment when it comes to disposal of spent coffee grounds.
1 Based on output of 90% Coffee Logs and 10% Inficaf (displacing polypropylene). As Inficaf sales grow, so too will our emissions savings.
2 Includes processing, manufacturing and end use of product.
3 Based on 50% mined and 50% synthetic calcium carbonate.
Step #BehindTheB this B Corp Month
The arrival of March brings this year’s B Corp Month, and as a Certified B CorporationTM, we’re taking part in the month-long campaign to help raise awareness of how the B Corp community is using business as a force for good. Throughout the month, we’re inviting you to see what goes on #BehindTheB.
Being a B Corp is something we’re really proud of, so for the next 30 days, we’ll be sharing what that means to us and why it matters, now more than ever.
What is a B Corp?
Certified B Corporations are a select group of for-profit companies using the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
B Corps are verified, through a rigorous assessment process, to have met the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Essentially, being a B Corp means valuing your workers, customers, environment, and community as much as your profits — and having corporate governance that keeps those values in place.
The B Corp Movement is growing globally and rapidly. There are now over 4,000 B Corps in the world, and over 600 here in the UK.
What does being a B Corp mean to us?
B Corp recognises businesses that are working to bring about change and operate in a way that seeks to benefit the wider community, whilst it also provides a framework for continuous improvement. For us, the ethos behind B Corp is aligned with what we are trying to achieve at bio-bean.
We believe that businesses are the best vehicles for driving change and delivering impact (both social and environmental). We consider that for a business to be successful it must be more than simply profitable. So to become a B Corp is a fantastic recognition of the business that the team has built, as well as being a clear marker for the way in which we will operate going forward.
Since we gained B Corp status in October 2020, we’ve been working on a variety of improvements. We’ll be sharing some of these throughout this month, and later this year we’ll be publishing our first B Impact Report.
bio-bean: 2021 in review
Well, when we did our last year in review 12 months ago, we certainly didn’t think at the time that Covid would still be putting a damper on everything. Yet here we are… But despite the many ups, downs, and twisted turnarounds we’ve all experienced, for us, 2021 has been a year of growth in many ways.
Looking back, here are a few of our 2021 highlights we’re particularly proud of…
We started off the year with a featured article in Perfumer & Flavorist, in which we highlight the opportunity for brands to make an impact by upcycling materials otherwise considered waste.
In February, we announced our supporting partnership for WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), to actively support implementation of their UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap.
A key objective of the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap is to have the UK’s largest 250 food businesses measuring, reporting and acting on food waste by 2026. So, by signing a commitment to the Roadmap, we’re committed to helping these businesses do just that.
Every year in March the B Corp community runs a month-long campaign to celebrate and champion what it means to be a Certified B Corporation. The theme this year was Better Business and George, our MD, wrote a blog to share his thoughts on what it means to be a better business.
One of our key activities during B Corp Month was signing up to support the Better Business Act (BBA). The BBA is the campaign, led by B Lab UK, to change UK law to make sure that businesses are required to put balancing people, planet and profit at the heart of their purpose and the responsibility of their directors.
For more information on the BBA, and to get involved, visit betterbusinessact.org.
April saw the end of our Coffee Logs season. We achieved record sales across the winter months, getting our fire logs made from spent coffee grounds out to more homes, displacing more coal and imported logs than ever before.
A member of our ops team, Tom, had his moment in the spotlight when he featured in C4’s ‘Food Unwrapped’ alongside Amanda Byram! Our segment aired as part of the episode titled ‘Food Unwrapped Does Takeaways’. The episode is available to watch on playback on Channel 4’s website.
In June, Costa Coffee – the Nation’s Favourite Coffee shop – pledged to continue recycling its spent coffee grounds with us for a further two years, building on our successful partnership that started in 2016.
Rather than sending the grounds to a landfill, around 1,500 Costa Coffee stores segregate their spent coffee grounds before sending them to our recycling facility.
This summer we launched Inficaf: upcycled spent coffee grounds with infinite possibility. Inficaf is a versatile, sustainable raw material for innovative product development in industries such as (bio)plastics, cosmetics and friction/abrasion. As the world increasingly demands sustainable alternatives, Inficaf displaces virgin or synthetic materials for new commercial and industrial applications.
To discuss using Inficaf in your products, get in touch with us today.
Another major highlight for us in July was being recognised as a Best for the Environment B Corp for 2021! The Best for the World are B Corps whose scores reach the top 5% of all B Corps worldwide in one or more of the five impact areas assessed towards the certification.
At bio-bean we were recognized, out of more than 4,000 B Corps worldwide, for our efforts in the Environment area. It’s a recognition we’re extremely proud of, but our efforts don’t stop there. With sustainability at the heart of everything we do, we’re continuously working to improve the way we do things, and therefore our impact on the environment as well as our workers and the wider community.
In September we closed an investment round, raising funds to support further automation and operational efficiencies in the factory.
The arrival of autumnal weather meant Coffee Logs hit retailers’ shelves again across the UK. And this year, our planet-friendly fire logs powered by coffee hit Tesco shelves for the first time ever. After just 4 seasons of selling Coffee Logs, we’re proud to now be stocked in 3 major supermarkets, along with 2 major DIY retailers, several garden centre chains and hundreds of independent shops across the nation.
We’ve finished off the year with Inficaf showcased in a piece of wall art in McDonald’s new net zero location in Shropshire. We’re proud to have worked with them to help demonstrate sustainable innovations possible in the hospitality sector and others.
Of course, we’ve not been spared from Covid disruptions. Indeed, we don’t believe any business has. Despite ongoing Covid complications, since the 1st of January we’ve recycled 6,400 tonnes of spent coffee grounds from hundreds of businesses across the UK, and thus have saved over 2,700 tonnes of CO2e emissions. This amount is equal to 6.8 million road miles driven by an average car!
We’re extremely proud of how each one of our staff members have banded together to fill in gaps, keep things running smoothly, and, most importantly, help keep one another safe. Our team are outstanding in their dedication and willingness to pitch in and be flexible, and they deserve this recognition.
Looking ahead to 2022
We’re brewing up some exciting things for 2022, including new coffee collection collaborations coming to the fore, and some exciting product innovations in the pipeline with a few of our partners.
We’ll also be publishing our first B Impact Report later in the year, highlighting the steps we’ve taken to boost our impact since our certification to B Corp status in October 2020.
If you’re interested in partnering with us, whether through recycling your business’s spent grounds, innovating with Inficaf or selling Coffee Logs, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Best for the World B Corps 2021
We have just been named as one of the Best for the WorldTM B Corps of 2021!
What is Best for the World?
The Best for the World are B Corps whose scores reach the top 5% of all B Corps worldwide in one or more of the five impact areas assessed towards the certification.
At bio-bean we are recognized, out of more than 4,000 B Corps worldwide, for our efforts in the Environment area.
Given that all B Corps already meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose, this is a recognition that we are incredibly proud of!
Why are we Best for the Environment?
Our business is built on a foundation of environmental sustainability. It’s inherent in what we do: upcycling spent coffee grounds into sustainable bio-based products for a circular economy. We reduce waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the circular economy. But what about how we do it?
Well, we’ve taken various measures over the years to reduce our environmental impact. We work with existing waste management and logistics companies to collect the spent coffee grounds, thereby reducing the number of road miles and subsequent emissions in the process. We use a large-scale biomass boiler to power our upcycling process at our facility, and we have various water-saving measures in place as well.
But more than that, we’re undertaking an internal project – a Sustainability Improvement Plan – with input from our entire team. The project examines our day-to-day operations with the objective to continuously improve the way we do things, and therefore our impact on the environment as well as our workers and the wider community.
And of course, we’re not doing it alone. As part of the global B Corp community, we’re sharing and gaining insights into best practice for using our business as a force for good.
We are so proud to be named Best for the Environment! And congratulations to all our outstanding, fellow Best for the World B Corps.
You can see our B Impact Score and more details on our B Impact Assessment Report.
For more information on Best for the World, and to see the full list for 2021, visit the B Corp website.
Costa Coffee is extending partnership with bio-bean
Costa Coffee, the Nation’s Favourite Coffee shop, has pledged to continue recycling its spent coffee grounds with us for a further two years, building on our successful partnership that started in 2016.
Rather than sending the grounds to a landfill, the around 1,500 Costa Coffee stores will segregate the spent coffee grounds before sending them to our recycling facility.
We then process and upcycle the grounds into various bio-products, including flavour ingredients for food and beverage manufacturing, as well as a bulk, raw material which displaces virgin or synthetic materials in a wide range of industrial applications, including (bio)plastics, cosmetics and automotive friction.
We also recycle the spent grounds into Coffee Logs: sustainable fire logs for use in domestic wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves. The logs provide an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional solid fuels, and by recycling spent coffee grounds in this way, we save 80% on CO2e emissions compared to the grounds being sent to landfill, and 70% compared to the grounds being sent to an anaerobic digestion facility.
Our partnership with Costa gives a second life to the coffee grounds used to create millions of handcrafted coffees across the UK, maximising their potential as a resource that can be used again in circular and innovative ways.
A Costa Coffee spokesperson said: “We’re delighted to be extending our partnership with bio-bean for another two years, helping us further reduce our impact on the environment from bean to cup and beyond. We’re proud to be working with such an innovative company and together, over the past 5 years, have put thousands of tonnes of spent Costa coffee grounds to work, transforming them into sustainable, circular bio-based products.”
George May, our Managing Director, said: “Since our relationship began in 2016, Costa Coffee has been a leader in its efforts to reduce coffee ground waste, demonstrating an ever-increasing commitment to addressing the climate emergency through progressive and innovative partnerships like ours.
We’re thrilled that Costa has extended our partnership. We look forward to making the most of the relationship, recycling even more spent grounds, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to the circular economy, and generally increasing our collective sustainable impact.”
Better business is better for all
This past month has been B Corp Month: an annual, global, month-long campaign celebrating and championing what it is to be a B CorpTM. The theme this year was Better Business. Being a ‘better business’ means you prioritise constant improvement to ensure you continuously exceed the expectations, demands and needs of society and the planet. It also means placing stakeholders at the centre of your business decisions.
On this final day of B Corp Month, we asked George, our MD, to share his thoughts on what it means to be a better business…
The B Corp movement is one that I have been aware of for a number of years, prompted by my brother certifying his business, Coschool, as a B Corp out in Colombia back in 2015. After joining bio-bean in the same year it struck me that the B Corp ethos is aligned to what bio-bean is seeking to achieve.
Certified B CorporationsTM are a select (but growing) group of for-profit companies using the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. B Corps are verified, through a rigorous assessment process, to have met the highest standards of “social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose”.
B Corps are building global awareness and driving a movement of people using business as a force for good – taking the lead to both deliver and set an example of what is right, fair and sustainable in business.
We (bio-bean) certified as a B Corp in late 2020. It is a fantastic achievement and one that took a great deal of effort from the whole team. Certification is both validation of what we have achieved and how we intend to move forward. It’s also a public, legally binding marker as to how the business will be run.
The part of the certification process that is perhaps least well known is that B Corps are legally required to amend their company’s Articles of Association. It must state that the company exists to promote the success of the business for the benefit not only of its shareholders, but also have a material positive impact on society and the environment.
The governing documents of a B Corp state the company’s commitment to consider a range of ‘stakeholder interests’ when making decisions, including those of shareholders, employees, suppliers, society and the environment. Critically, the documents also state that shareholder value is not the supreme consideration, but rather just one factor amongst the many stakeholder interests.
We are fortunate at bio-bean in that both our board and the majority of our shareholders are equally aligned with the B Corp approach and the need to consider a wider stakeholder base, as well as ensure that we have a positive impact on the environment.
So, when it came to amending our Articles, the approval from the board was unanimous. They understood that a stakeholder governance approach, where we take into consideration the interests of all identifiable stakeholders (staff, community, customers, the environment), would benefit the business and ultimately help us create big change that lasts.
Benefits of adopting a stakeholder governance mindset
B Corps benefit from higher levels of innovation and they experience greater levels of employee retention, engagement and diversity, alongside faster growth in turnover.
We certified less than 6 months ago, and so we’re still embedding into the B Corp system and community. However, there have already been noticeable benefits and opportunities through engaging with other B Corps and providing us with a framework to approach decisions.
We’re also, prompted in part by the B Impact Assessment, working on plans to improve how we operate across all areas of the business, and I’m looking forward to seeing what impacts our being a B Corp has on our team, our community and our wider outputs over the medium and longer term.
And in the spirit of transparency, our current B Impact Report is publicly available for all to see.
We continue to build on the foundation of our certification and are proud to be part of a growing and driven band of companies. In the UK, B Corps span some 50-odd industries, with over 20,000 employees and a combined revenue of nearly £4.5 billion. The B Corp movement is a true vehicle for change and one that is increasing in influence and reach.
When you consider that 75% of the UK public believe businesses should have a legal responsibility to the planet and people, alongside maximising profit, and that they have a responsibility to protect the natural environment (B Lab UK survey, May 2020), it raises a very pertinent question… why don’t they? What if all businesses acted purposefully and responsibly, ensuring a cleaner, greener, fairer future for all?
In light of this, I am proud that bio-bean is not only a B Corp but will be supporting the Better Business Act (BBA) campaign which launches today (31 March). The BBA is the campaign, led by B Lab UK, to change UK law to make sure that businesses are required to put balancing people, planet and profit at the heart of their purpose and the responsibility of their directors.
bio-bean is a WRAP supporting partner
We’re pleased to announce that we’ve signed up as a supporting partner with WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) to actively support implementation of their UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap.
What is WRAP?
WRAP is a UK charity working with governments, businesses, and communities to promote the use of resources in a more efficient way and reduce waste generation. They promote and encourage more sustainable resource use through product design, waste minimisation, re-use, recycling and reprocessing of waste materials.
WRAP focuses its efforts in the areas of food and drink, plastic packaging, clothing and textiles, and collections and reprocessing, with the aim of moving demand towards levels that could sustainably be met by the planet.
What is the UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap?
Essentially, the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap consists of action milestones for UK businesses to ‘Target, Measure and Act’ on food waste. Over 250 UK businesses have signed a commitment to the Roadmap and associated ‘Target, Measure, Act’ principles. We’re proud to be one of them.
According to the United Nations FAO, around a third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. This has massive economic, social, and environmental impacts, and in the UK alone more than 10 million tonnes of food is wasted from farm to fork, worth over £20 billion a year.
In response to this crisis, in 2005 the UK launched a series of voluntary agreements, called the Courtauld Commitments, to tackle waste in the food supply chain. The latest agreement, known as Courtauld Commitment 2025, brings together organisations across the food system to make food & drink production and consumption more sustainable. The Commitment aims to identify priorities, develop solutions, and implement changes to cut the carbon, water and waste associated with food & drink by at least one fifth in 10 years.
The global response to the food waste crisis led to UN SDG 12.3, which lays out the goal of halving, by 2030, “per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.”
To support both SDG 12.3 and the Courtauld Commitment 2025, WRAP – together with IGD (Institute of Grocery Distribution) and with input from businesses, trade bodies and others from agriculture, production and manufacture, retail and hospitality and food service – led an industry-wide programme of work to develop a roadmap for how the UK food industry will help deliver against these targets.
The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, UK Food Waste Reduction (FWR) Roadmap Toolkit and other supporting resources are the result of that programme. The toolkit helps food businesses take targeted action to reduce waste in their own operations, their supply chain and from consumers, and enables businesses to measure and report consistently.
Who are the Guardians of Grub?
For hospitality businesses you can kick-start your food waste reduction journey by finding out about the simple principles of ‘Target, Measure, Act’ by visiting WRAP’s Guardians of Grub website. From here you can explore the free resources including Guardians of Grub Cost Saving Skills course to gain the tools, knowledge, and skills you need to take a stand against wasted food.
There’s a further opportunity to join the Guardians of Grub in the UK’s first ever Food Waste Action Week 1-7 March 2021. The aim of Food Waste Action Week is to wake the nation up to the environmental consequences of wasting food. Find out here how you can get involved.
Why does bio-bean support WRAP and the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap?
At bio-bean, rethinking waste is what we do. We demonstrate, by innovating with coffee ‘waste’, that there is residual value yet to be extracted from the resources literally under our nose, and that, with some ingenuity, creativity, flexibility and commitment, we can make far more use of the materials we’ve previously simply discarded.
WRAP envisions a world where resources are used sustainably; a vision we’re fully aligned with. By recycling spent coffee grounds from UK businesses into sustainable bio-products, we’ve proven that spent coffee grounds can be used more sustainably, reducing the impact of waste, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, displacing the need for virgin and scarce resources and contributing to the circular economy.
A key objective of the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap is to have the UK’s largest 250 food businesses measuring, reporting and acting on food waste by 2026. So, by signing a commitment to the Roadmap, we’re committed to helping these businesses do just that.
An easy first step is recycling your business’s spent coffee grounds. If you’re a business based in the UK and you produce high volumes of spent coffee grounds, please get in touch. You could not only save money on your waste disposal costs, but you could also be helping the UK toward a more sustainable future.
bio-bean: 2020 in review
It should go without saying that 2020 has been a challenging year in numerous ways, and many of us are quite happy to see the back of it. With the coronavirus pandemic affecting individuals, businesses, organisations, and governments across the globe, there have been unprecedented difficulties experienced by all. But there were also some standout moments. And as the end of the year is a time for reflection, we thought we’d share some of our 2020 highlights at bio-bean that we’re proud of.
We had a strong start to the year when, back in January, CNN came to our factory to film for their Global Energy Challenge series. The series explored how the planet can move forward towards clean energy while fulfilling the demands of a growing, global population.
Their focus on bio-bean was for one of the series’ energy conundrum segments, looking at science and engineering solutions to the energy transition. It was great to be recognised globally for our work in recycling spent coffee grounds into solid biofuels.
In case you missed it, you can watch the video here.
Come February, we found ourselves at Insider’s Made in Central & East England Awards 2020. This event celebrated the region’s manufacturing prowess, and we were delighted to win the Food & Drink Award for our high-quality natural flavours extracted from spent coffee grounds. This was a proud moment for us, having only recently launched our first flavour product, NUF-A.
To find out more about our sustainable, natural flavours from spent coffee grounds, head to bio-bean Naturals on our website.
With rising COVID cases and much of the world heading into lockdown, including the UK, we sent our office-based staff home. Despite the shutdown of businesses nationwide, we continued to receive spent coffee from several of our recycling clients, and classed as key workers, our factory team continued operations amidst new and strict health and safety measures.
In August, a few members of our team had their well-deserved moment in the spotlight when bio-bean featured in Channel 5’s Episode 2 of The Secret World of Your Rubbish. The segment highlighted our factory operations and engineering teams, following them through a day-in-the-life at our coffee recycling plant in Cambridgeshire, and walking viewers through how we make our eco-friendly fire logs known as Coffee Logs.
You can catch up on the episode on the Channel 5 website.
October was a big month for us. Off the back of our factory team breaking records on logs production in September, we kicked off the campaign for our current season of Coffee Logs sales. With everyone spending more time at home this winter, Coffee Logs are the perfect fuel for snuggling in, sustainably, next to a warm and glowing fire.
We then saw the release of a film showcasing our story of innovation and ingenuity in helping to create a circular bioeconomy. The film’s purpose is to garner support for the Sustainable Markets Initiative, which aims to lead on and accelerate a global transition to a greener, more sustainable future. Launched by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales back in January, the initiative calls for greater collaboration to scale up solutions for a ‘blue-green’ recovery, putting nature, people and planet at the heart of the economy.
In case you missed it, you can watch the full film here.
And to close out October with one of our most exciting achievements of the year, we officially became a Certified B Corporation™. Pete Griffiths and George May, our Executive Directors, said this about our new status:
B Corp™ recognises businesses that are working to bring about change and operate in a way that seeks to benefit the wider community, whilst it also provides a framework for continuous improvement. For us, the ethos behind B Corp is aligned with what we are trying to achieve at bio-bean, so to become a B Corp is a fantastic recognition of the business that the team has built, as well as being a clear marker for the way in which we will operate going forward.
We’re extremely proud to be members of the wider B Corp community. To find out more about our certification, visit our B Corp announcement here.
November and December
In fact, since 1st January, despite all the disruption that COVID has inflicted, we’ve still recycled nearly 4,000 tonnes of spent coffee grounds. This means we’ve saved over 1,700 tonnes of CO2e emissions, equal to 4.2 million road miles driven by an average car!
Our heartfelt thanks
We are extremely proud of the way the entire bio-bean team has responded to the ongoing crisis, from pulling together to help those who need to shield or isolate, to rising to the challenges of working in this ‘new normal’. The ambition and tenacity of our team has shone through in our agility and ability to rise to the occasion whilst supporting and nurturing one another through the rapid, ongoing changes we’ve all been facing.
And as we close out the calendar year, we’re grateful to all our clients, partners, customers, and supporters who have continued to demonstrate their faith in our purpose throughout this most turbulent of times. Our heartfelt thanks to all of you for helping us to create big change that lasts by innovating through coffee ‘waste’.
Looking ahead to 2021
Looking ahead to 2021, we have great hopes for control of the virus and the advancement of a green recovery. Collaboration, flexibility, and longer-term, innovative strategies are crucial to this, and we will certainly be doing our part.
If you’re interested in getting involved, whether through recycling your business’s spent grounds, selling Coffee Logs or using our dried grounds as a raw material for your sustainable product innovation, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
How is bio-bean part of a circular economy?
Our current model of global consumerism is a linear model of take-make-waste – one that is leading to growing landfills and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. To ensure we and our planet can continue to survive and thrive in the long term, this linear consumption methodology and our over reliance on virgin resources must change. We must move towards a circular economy.
What is a circular economy?
In its simplest form, a circular economy consists of reducing our extraction of resources from the planet and instead reusing, repurposing, or remanufacturing the resources already taken, putting them back into the economic chain. This can be as simple as servicing and re-furbishing the appliances in our homes rather than disposing of them to buy new, or, on a greater scale, rethinking ‘waste’ and making use of any remaining residual value within a ‘waste’ material.
How does bio-bean contribute to a circular economy?
As the world’s largest recycler of spent coffee grounds, we ensure that the residual value in spent grounds feeds back into the economy. From our coffee recycling service to providing a raw material for use in bioplastics, we work with a variety of businesses across industries to transform spent coffee grounds into products which offer a more sustainable solution to their counterparts.
When disposed to landfill, spent coffee grounds give off harmful greenhouse gas emissions. So we work to divert spent grounds from such inefficient disposal methods and instead recycle them, extracting the maximum value possible from the grounds and leaving no potential disposed of and wasted. By doing this we reduce waste, save up to 80% on CO2e emissions, and contribute to the circular economy.
Ultimately, at bio-bean, we’re actively demonstrating that a material, formerly considered ‘waste’, need not be disposed of, but rather, still holds value. By transforming this ‘waste’ into sustainable products, we’re giving coffee grounds a second life, creating change that’s built to last.
Moving forward with a circular economy
More businesses are backing a green economic recovery from the current global pandemic. Increasingly we’re seeing start-ups appearing on the market who are transforming ‘waste’ into other products, from wonky vegetables to orange peel, and even discarded fish scales. And we’re seeing more and more large, billion-pound global businesses investing in sustainability and the circular economy.
Watching this shift brings hope for the large-scale behavioural change we need to protect the planet from further loss. However, businesses can only do so much in the face of current rigid legislation.
Circular innovations often float in the legislative ether with nowhere to go. We’ve experienced this first-hand. So, we want to see the UK Government facilitating the circular movement and creating more flexible legislation to quickly scale and create lasting impact through sustainable innovations.
Until then, we will continue to contribute towards the circular economy and bring about behaviour change in the way we all see and deal with “waste”.