Our Sustainability Philosophy
Sustainability is both the result and the foundation of approaching every aspect of our business with care. At each step of the coffee path – from forming partnerships with farmers at origin all the way to serving your espresso – our decisions are made with sustainability in mind. Sustainability of relationships, of the land in cultivation, of our local economy, the Nossa team, our environment, and of our customers’ loyalty is all interconnected.
We work to treat everyone involved in our coffee supply chain as part of our family—“Nossa Familia” in Portuguese. Sourcing coffee from farms and farmers that take care of their environment and paying those farmers a fair price for their coffee is an endeavor in sustainability - it ensures that they will continue to improve their crop, remain in business, and supply us with coffee of increasing quality. In every aspect of our business, we strive to produce specialty coffees in a way that has a positive impact on our world. Below you'll find a few areas in which we've put exceptional care into improving our sustainability efforts.
We produced our first-ever annual Sustainability Report for 2016. We are proud to share our sustainability progress with our customers, suppliers, and shareholders in this report.
ORGANIC & B CORP CERTIFICATIONS
Nossa Familia is a Certified B Corporation, and is the first coffee roaster in Oregon to achieve this distinction. Certified B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for good. They meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. There are more than 1,800 Certified B Corporations in over 120 industries and 40 countries with one unifying goal – to redefine success in business. We join fellow Portlanders and friends at A to Z Wineworks, Elephants Delicatessen, The Joinery, B-Line, New Seasons Market, Bamboo Sushi, B-Line, Metropolitan Group, Hopworks Urban Brewery, Green Drop Garage, Looptworks, and a number of other amazing companies in this movement.
Nossa Familia is also proud to be a certified Organic handling facility by Oregon Tilth, enabling us to assure the integrity of the Organic green coffee we purchase and to offer it as certified Organic roasted coffee. We currently offer two Organic-Certified coffees, both using Guatemalan coffee: Augusta's Organic Breakfast and Camila's Organic.
We roast our coffee on either a Loring Smart Roast S35 Kestrel or S70 Peregrine, which were designed and built in Northern California utilizing components manufactured in the United States. The Loring uses 80% less energy and emits 80% less emissions than a comparable standard roaster, and the recycling of hot air from the roaster drum eliminates the need for an afterburner. Annually, roasting on the Loring reduces our emissions by 164,140 lbs of CO2. Our Director of Coffee, Rob Hoos, consults domestically and internationally as a certified Loring trainer, helping other companies to excel with Loring roasters.
Energy & Emissions
In 2015, Nossa Familia switched to 100% renewable (wind) electricity through Portland General Electric. Nossa employees are encouraged to commute car-free with subsidized annual bike tune-ups and stipends for bicycle/pedestrian foul-weather or safety gear. We have ongoing relationships with and lend practical and financial support to local cycling organizations, such as The Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) and Community Cycling Center, which work to promote bicycling as a utilitarian and recreational activity in the Portland area.
materials Use, Reuse & Reduction
Nossa Familia strives to find the balance between integrity of product and sustainability of packaging, which is a constant struggle in an industry that is unfortunately inherently riddled with waste. We try to do our part to minimize impact by sourcing products that are less harmful to the environment and try to support companies focused on innovation in the sustainable packaging industry. In September of 2017, we switched all of our retail and wholesale bags to a more sustainable line of bags from Pacific Bags Inc. called Biotré. These bags are made from renewable wood pulp with a polyethylene lining and are biodegradable in a home-composting setting.
Café Cups & other materials
We think critically about which supplies are most sustainable based on compatibility with the City of Portland’s recycling and composting program, not just the most “eco-friendly” in name or appearance. We prioritize paper supplies that feature post-consumer recycled content, focusing on upstream inputs. We currently utilize Planet+ compostable cups. We also try to minimize coffee sleeve and straw usage by keeping these items behind the counter, only available on request.
We try to encourage cup waste in our cafés at every turn. We have always offered a $0.25 discount at all of our cafés to encourage use of reusable cups, and our cafés have over triple the industry average of customers who bring their own mugs.
Zero Waste Efforts
In August 2018, our Seven Corners Café pioneered a Zero Waste program where we not only had the $0.25 discount for bringing your own mug, but also an upcharge for getting a disposable to-go cup. Since introducing this new charge, we have seen a significant reduction in share of to-go cups being used in the café, as well as a dramatic increase in customers choosing to bring their own mugs due to the environmental initiative.
Vendors & Suppliers
As a policy, Nossa Familia prioritizes local and sustainably-minded vendors, especially those fellow Certified B Corporation companies.. In our cafés you’ll find that: our milk comes from Portland-based Alpenrose Dairy; we have a wide offering of alternative milks (which, by the way, have a much lower carbon footprint than dairy!); our local honey comes from B Corp Certified GloryBee Honey; we feature Bob’s red mill oats; our delicious loose leaf teas come from Bend’s Metolius Artisan Tea; and our yummy pastries are made by Portland’s Pearl Bakery and Pitchoun in Los Angeles. Whether we’re printing T-Shirts, designing mugs, or choosing a new snack for our cafés, we always look first to our amazing community of Portland makers, and particularly those that keep the planet in mind.
Many of our cafés use reclaimed wood and furniture or shelving made by local makers, such as Fieldwork Design, Wolf Ceramics, ECOpdx, Viridian Hardwoods, Fully, and The Joinery. Talk about reclaimed: in our old espresso bar, we even used the shipping crate our roaster arrived in, and we cut down old shelves from the old Pearl espresso bar, repainted them and gave them a second life at our Seven Corners Café. We also use reclaimed (read: thrifted, free, bordering on 90s-cafe-grunge) furniture for our offices.
Green Coffee Sourcing
Forming meaningful, personal relationships with the farmers we source from has always been fundamental to Nossa Familia Coffee – in fact, the company was literally founded upon direct trade coffee (aka Grandma and Grandpa’s farm.) What started as an exclusively family-trade coffee business has expanded over the years to feature coffees from around the world. When Nossa Familia sources green coffee we make sure to do so through transparent, familiar channels that we have personally evaluated. In most cases we have visited the farm, farmer, or cooperative we are buying from (sometimes annually.) When we haven’t had the chance to visit we source through trusted companies, like Portland’s B Corp Certified Sustainable Harvest importers, Guatemala based non-profit De la Gente, socially-focused Deeper Roots Coffee, Café Imports, or Bourbon Coffee.
Nossa Familia Coffee purchases coffees that may be certified Organic, Utz certified, BSCA certified, and/or Fair Trade certified. Some of the farms/cooperatives we work with carry no certifications but use environmentally and socially conscious methods, choosing not to certify due to financial or political reasons. Our personal relationships with the producers we source from allows us to move beyond dependence on a third party certification for knowledge of farming practices, though Nossa Familia does hold Organic and B Corp certifications and believe these to be valuable indicators and standards for our commitment to protecting environmental integrity in the coffee process.