Industry News | July 24, 2013

Farmer Bros Makes Sustainable Practices a Priority

Farmer Bros. Co. announced this week its first sustainability report outlining its progress and ongoing commitment to sustainable practices locally and in the global coffee community. Through this report, which is available for download, Farmer Brothers outlines its sustainability framework and presents baseline results for an environmental and social scorecard. With certifications from Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade USA, Utz, LEED, Safe Quality Food, QAI and USDA Organic, Farmer Brothers continues to prove its commitment to the sustainability effort.


Sustainability takes patience, commitment and an openness to change,” says Mike Keown, president and CEO of Farmer Brothers. “As a business that survived the Great Depression with the mantra ‘Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without,’ we’re guided by a heritage of sensible frugality that created the foundation for many sustainability practices today.” He adds, “We also have a deep-rooted commitment to the environment and the farmers who grow our core coffee and tea products.”


The report illustrates Farmer Brothers’ sustainability framework, SEED (Social, Environmental, and Economic Development), which is designed as a “triple-bottom-line” approach to sustainability where human capital and natural capital hold the same value as financial capital. The social pillar of SEED works to promote fair, safe, and healthful environments within the company, local communities, and global supplier partners. Farmer Brothers donates more than a million dollars in cash and products each year to organizations that address food security, both locally and globally.


The environmental pillar focuses on minimizing corporate impact by reducing emissions, shifting the waste ratio (landfill, recycling, composting), and managing inputs through internal campaigns like “Idle No More,”which encourages drivers to turn off trucks when possible. Farmer Brothers was recently awarded membership into the EPA Green Power Partnership Club for purchasing 100 percent wind power renewable energy credits for electricity used in the company’s Portland facility.


Through our partnership with Waste Management, we are proud to continue making progress towards our environmental and economic goal of zero waste to landfill,” says Sarah Beaubien, director of sustainability at Farmer Brothers. “We continue to raise the bar for sustainable practices by developing innovative approaches to every point in the supply chain — from relationships with suppliers to material sourcing to product distribution and waste disposition.”


Lastly, the economic pillar demonstrates the long-term economic viability of the company is dependent on supply chain stability, risk mitigation, continual improvement of processes, cost management, market expansion, and innovation.


Board-level leadership with World Coffee Research and Coffeelands Food Security Coalition — both as a co-founder and as an ongoing decision maker — has helped to fuel Farmer Brothers’ efforts to find solutions to some of the most important issues in coffee production: lack of biodiversity and food insecurity. Additionally, the company’s growing portfolio of Direct Trade coffees provides enhanced opportunity to farmers, through a transparent and traceable buying program. For more information, please visit

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