Convenience retailer 7-Eleven, citing a 2016 study which found that sustainably sourced coffee is recognized by almost half of Millennials as an important attribute when making their selection, is swapping the Colombian coffee now served at its stories for a new Rainforest Alliance Certified, single-origin Colombian coffee. It is the company’s first permanent coffee variety to switch to sustainable sourcing, the retailer says. This means that between one third and one half of 7-Eleven’s coffees will be Rainforest Alliance Certified. The certification proves that 100% of the beans are sourced from coffee growers whose farms are required to meet “strict standards designed to protect the environment,” the retailer says.
Sustainability is one of the most critical factors that will affect the future of the coffee industry, the CEO of Italian coffee roaster Illy told Fast Company earlier this year. Coffee is a perennial crop that needs four years for the plant to become fully productive, and the average life of one coffee plant is 30 years. “That means that we need to renew, in one cycle, most of the coffee plantations,” Illy said.
7-Eleven released new CSR goals last year, including a goal of reducing its energy footprint in stores by 20% by 2025. Earlier this year, 7-Eleven signed an agreement with TXU Energy to purchase 100% Texas wind energy for 425 Texas stores. The 96-month wind energy agreement starts June 1, 2018. It is expected to reduce 7-Eleven’s carbon footprint by 6.7% while providing significant operating expense savings, according to the retailer.