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Carbon-Conscious Coffee

In July, we published an article sharing our journey in carbon. Those who attended Full Circle in November heard us expand on this in a talk examining the opportunities and challenges of our work. For those of you who couldn’t make it, you can watch it here.  

One of the main challenges we experienced with carbon in coffee is an absence of data. More specifically, a lack of coffee production data at origin.  

Although we found adequate research to determine the greenhouse gas emissions of our direct business activities, and those related to shipping, transporting and roasting coffee, there was not enough reliable data to accurately calculate most emissions produced upstream in our value chain, around farming, producing and processing coffee activities.  

It turns out we’re not alone in this experience. A recent SCA paper, Carbon and Coffee, highlights how a lack of data currently creates barriers for coffee companies looking to reduce their carbon footprints and set net-zero targets.  

A lack of carbon data at origin is not surprising, given the extra work and time required from producers to collect it, especially given the increased challenges of recent years. But that’s not to say that carbon data at origin is non-existent. In fact, some farms in our value chain don’t only have carbon data available for activities on their farm but are leading the conversation around carbon in coffee production.  

And this makes for some exciting opportunities. 


In recent years, Daterra has taken huge strides in leading sustainability in coffee farming and production. As part of this process, Daterra undertook a study in partnership with Imaflora Institute on carbon emissions and sequestration, which showed that Daterra is carbon-negative and above the global average on carbon-efficient coffee production. 

Carbon sequestration is a natural process where carbon is absorbed from the atmosphere and stored in soil and vegetation. As Daterra cultivates over 11.7 million coffee trees on 2,800 hectares of land, and it also denotes  3.000 hectares to environmental preservation and reforestation, the capacity for carbon capture on the farm is vast. Currently, Daterra captures over 1.2 million tons of C02 equivalent, a much larger amount than it emits. As a result, Daterra can produce around 80 thousand bags of carbon-negative coffee. 

As a carbon-negative farm, each bag of Daterra coffee essentially has its own carbon credit. Daterra carbon credits take shape as Sequestration Declarations, a certificate unique to each bag, or contract, detailing the amount of sequestrated carbon earned from a purchase. This amount is represented in kg of Carbon Dioxide equivalent of Greenhouse Gases, or C02eq, and applies to the delivery of the coffee to Santos Port in Brazil. For the 2020 harvest, the carbon credit for a 60kg bag of Daterra coffee delivered to the port was  40kg of C02eq. In 2021 crop, this number increased to 69.75kg.  

For the 2022 crop, Daterra partnered up with a research company, specialised in agricultural CO2 emissions and sequestrations. These studies consist of installing research modules throughout the plantations to measure real CO2 stored in the soil through the farm’s sustainable agricultural management techniques and on the below and above-soil biomass. 

The final numbers will be available on the 1st semester of 2023. 

Carbon-Conscious Coffee

We receive carbon credits in the form of Sequestration Declarations for all Daterra coffee we source at DRWakefield. But, as our role in the industry is to connect people in coffee, we want to pass on these credits to you, the roaster.  

For coffee bought from the 2020 harvest onwards, you can request a transfer of Sequestration Declarations with your purchase of Daterra coffee and use these carbon credits for your business. We now have all sequestration declarations for the 2020 and 2021 crops, so if you bought Daterra coffee during this period, please reach out to claim your credits. 

In addition to this, as we have conducted a carbon footprint analysis of our supply chain, we understand the greenhouse gas emissions created by transporting coffee from Brazil to the UK or EU. Therefore, we can also provide a breakdown of the carbon emissions it takes to deliver Daterra coffee to each destination, which means you’ll also be able to calculate just how much carbon sequestration each bag of Daterra coffee contains as it arrives at your roastery. 

For example, if you were a roastery based in London, UK, purchasing 20 x 60kg bags of Daterra coffee, your carbon data would look something like this: 

  • Carbon Sequestrations at Farm = 1,395 kg C02e (20 bags x 69.75kg C02e) 
  • Sea & Land Transport GHG Emissions = 132 kg C02e (20 bags of coffee sea freighted to Tilbury, UK and delivered over land to London Roastery) 
  • Total Remaining Sequestrations at Roastery = 1,263 kg C02e

We have decided to title this initiative our Carbon-Conscious Coffee range.  

We hope approaching carbon in coffee consciously will not only increase the carbon transparency of our coffee but support other people in our industry looking to understand and reduce their environmental impact. 

Is Carbon Conscious Coffee the same as Carbon-Neutral or Carbon-Negative? 

Technically, no. As DRWakefield and Daterra’s carbon footprint analysis was conducted by two separate organisations (Carbon Trust and Imaflora), we cannot link our data to create a carbon-certified supply chain. To certify our Daterra coffee range, we’d have to conduct an entirely new product footprint analysis of our Daterra with one organisation, a costly and lengthy process.  

But, with Daterra Carbon-Conscious Coffee, we can leverage our work in carbon by adding value to you by providing sequestration declarations and transport emissions data for every bag of Daterra coffee purchased. As a Daterra customer, you can use these to: 

  • Offset Carbon Emissions: if you are conducting a carbon footprint analysis of your business and are not including farm data in your Scope 3 category. 
  • Reduce and Improve Your Carbon Emissions Data: if you are conducting a carbon footprint analysis of your business and include farm data in your Scope 3 category. 

We’re thrilled to be working with Daterra to kick this project off and, as we work more with producing partners to understand carbon in our supply chain better, we hope it is the first of many farms we can collaborate with to expand this initiative.  

As Daterra continues to implement more sustainable strategies to reduce emissions further and increase their positive environmental impact, the amount of sequestered carbon on the farm will likely increase, leading to even more carbon credits for Daterra coffee. For example, Daterra’s new recyclable Penta Bags and laser labelling technology are already reducing carbon emissions in their packaging. And a recent initiative to install 3000 solar boards on the farm will generate over 2 gigawatts of energy each year, eliminating the emissions of over 20 tons of CO2e. 

Daterra is also planting 20 million native trees in Brazil before 2030 through its Tree_llion Project, which will lead to an enormous amount of CO2 sequestration. To partner with Daterra to build forests and increase your sequestration even further, you can learn more and get involved by clicking here.

As this initiative takes shape, we hope to grow our learning along with our Carbon-Conscious Coffee. We understand that work around carbon is sometimes complex. So, feel free to contact us to discuss this project or anything related to carbon in coffee.  

To learn more about Daterra Carbon-Conscious Coffee, or to receive the Sequestration Declarations and Transport Emissions Summary for your Daterra purchase, contact tom.haigh@drwakefield.com.