bio-bean and the UN Sustainable Development Goals - bio-bean


24th October 2019

bio-bean and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

To mark United Nations Day our Director and CFO, Peter Griffiths, has written a blog to explain how we at bio-bean align with the Sustainable Development Goals.

If you were to find Richard Curtis, Queen Mathilde of Belgium and Jack Ma in a temporary office building at the edge of a now disused RAF runway alongside two former aircraft hangars that house bio-bean’s coffee grounds recycling plant, the UN Headquarters in New York would feel a long way away and the concept of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) even further .

And yet within the corrugated iron walls of the above-mentioned aircraft hangars – hangars that once housed the U2 spy plane – we at bio-bean are working at a new frontline. A frontline that those who conceived of the SDGs would, we believe, find inspiring and aligned with their thinking when they launched the Goals.

For, in our considered opinion, bio-bean’s coffee grounds recycling plant and our extensive research and development into maximising the value extracted from coffee grounds encapsulate a number of the SDGs. Indeed, when we read through the 17 SDGs, goal after goal chimes with the company’s values and our own goals. How many of the SDGs are we clearly aligned with, we ask ourselves. Four, six, eight or more? Good Jobs & Economic Growth, Innovation & Infrastructure, Sustainable Cities & Communities, Responsible Consumption & Production and Life on Land are all goals that unquestionably our work contributes to. But there’s also Gender Equality, Clean Energy and Climate Action that we believe are relevant and are facets of what we do.

We didn’t plan it this way. Until today we’ve never consciously referenced our activities to the SDGs, let alone sought to generate our mission or objectives from the Goals. But the fact that, seemingly independently, we have found ourselves so closely aligned with the Goals is a source of great optimism. Optimism not only that our purpose, to create big change that lasts, can be impactful far beyond just our direct stakeholders, but also that the SDGs are a tool that resonate in unlikely parts of the globe – such as a former home to spy planes – by addressing the activities being undertaken by small businesses such as our own.

While sustainability is at the heart of everything we do, our alignment with the SDGs was not a conscious effort. But when we recently undertook a company values exercise, a very consistent set of beliefs and drivers for why people work at bio-bean and how they perceive the company emerged. Much like our unlikely location, our team is made up of anything but what one might imagine a tech start-up business team to consist of. We are an industrial scale recycler and manufacturer. We give good jobs, produce sustainably, innovate and give substantial consideration to our community because doing so is important to our management, motivates the people who work for the company and helps us achieve the best results possible.

Our insight into the SDGs is that doing the right thing for sustainable development is the right thing for a well-run business to do, and that as our recent work to define our values taught us, the aims of the SDGs are embedded within so many of our employees, even those who may never have heard of them.