L’Arbre à Café is a coffee roastery that imports its specialty coffees directly from farmers and does the roasting in Paris using EKOenergy-labelled gas. L’Arbre à Café’s coffees come from sustainable, regenerative agriculture and diversified forests, and are sold online and in its two Parisian shops. We asked Hippolyte Courty, founder of L’Arbre à Café, a few questions to find out more about the importance they place on sustainable energy and what led them to choose EKOenergy-labelled gas.
How and when did the idea of using EKOenergy-labelled gas come about?
The idea was born this year when we moved our offices and production sites. In designing this new space, one of our priorities was to reduce our energy consumption by switching to 100% renewable, clean and, as far as possible, certified energy.
With regard to energy saving, we have equipped ourselves with the most energy-efficient production equipment, including roasters. Today, for example, we have a roaster that consumes up to 40% less energy than its predecessor.
In addition, we wanted to find suppliers of renewable energies that offered extra guarantees that their energy was truly renewable and green. However, as we are non renewable energy professionals, this was not an easy task. Indeed, when looking for a supplier, it is very easy to see the cheapest one, but on the other hand finding one who certifies that 100% of the gas or energy you buy is renewable is much more difficult than it seems.
This is why we decided to ask for EKOenergy-labelled gas. We first signed a contract without an ecolabel and asked our supplier to check whether he can offer renewable gas with the EKOenergy label. Once we became sure it’s possible, we switched to an EKOenergy labelled contract with the same supplier.
Why are sustainability and renewable energy important to L’Arbre à Café?
L’Arbre à Café is a pioneer in sustainable coffee and has always regarded taste quality, social quality and environmental quality as equally important. Our supply of gas, electricity or energy is just as important to us as our coffee and other goods. We want that our ingredients as well as all steps of the production process are of high-quality right up to the end, right up to the management of energy. Energy management is crucial for L’Arbre à Café and we want to communicate about it, and show that words and actions can go hand in hand and be as attainable and concrete as possible.
Prior to working with the EKOenergy ecolabel, we already had a focus on sustainability. Our coffees are certified organic and/or biodynamic, we are direct producers and we are an Ecotable supplier (Ecotable is a label for eco-responsible restaurants in France). It was already obvious to us that our fleet of vehicles had to be electric and that we had to use installations and equipment with the highest performance, however, we now wanted them to be energy efficient too. Perhaps the most important point, for us, is that the EKOenergy ecolabel allows us to find gas that is not only 100% renewable, but also fulfills additional sustainability criteria.
This allows the consumer, our customers and our partners to see the depth and reality of our commitment. We have to be as clear and transparent as possible with our consumers, and have unambiguous communication and actions. We buy 100% renewable energy and we proudly use the labels and certificates that guarantee our words and our source.
“Our supply of gas, electricity or energy is just as important to us as our coffee and other goods.” – Hippolyte Courty, founder of L’Arbre à Café
What was the purchasing process for the EKOenergy-labelled gas for L’Arbre à Café in France?
We contacted EKOenergy to find out which suppliers they work with. In France, energy companies are very efficient at offering green tariffs to individuals yet there seem to be much less options for commercial enterprises. We contacted all the renewable energy suppliers to ask if they were working with EKOenergy, and if they could provide energy not for domestic use but for commercial purposes. It turned out that only ekWateur could supply us with EKOenergy-labelled gas.
How do you communicate about your use of EKOenergy-labelled energy?
We do joint communication and we add the logo on our packaging. We are currently installing our Wall of Fame in the workshop too, listing all our partners. Also, we explain that our coffee is roasted using green and renewable natural gas. We are quite proud to say that we are among the first roasters in the world to use EKOenergy-labelled gas.
In addition to your energy choice, what other ”sustainable” choices are you pursuing or planning to pursue?
Our first sustainable choice is regarding agriculture as our plantations are, at the very least, certified as organic and often by Demeter, a renowned biodynamic agricultural certifier in France. Also, we have a carbon neutrality objective. We are working on the life cycle analysis of our coffees and, by reducing our emissions and offsetting our carbon emissions, we aim to become carbon neutral by September 2020. We participate in many conferences and podcasts in order to promote our green and sustainability focus, which is anchored in reality and in each and every coffee bean. Gas is the driving force behind roasting and roasting is the core of our business. Putting sustainability at the heart of our business and at the heart of our craftsmanship, is, to us, truly fundamental.
We thank L’Arbre à Café for choosing EKOenergy, for all their efforts towards 100% sustainability and carbon neutrality, and for answering our questions! We hope that their commitment to sustainability will inspire others to take similar steps, speeding up the transition towards a 100% renewable world.
To see other articles like this and to learn more about companies using EKOenergy-labelled energy, have a look at our user stories. We, and our licensees, are happy to help individuals and companies choose the most sustainable renewable energy available.
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Hippolyte Courty was interviewed by Elodie Cuesta
Published on 9 July 2020