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Sustainability

Creating Sustainable Products

We take pride in the fact that our products are an enjoyable part of the daily routines of millions of people. And we know that for our beverages and brewing systems to be truly satisfying — for our customers and consumers as well as for us as a company — we need to continually improve the environmental performance of our products.   

We believe that our products can be designed, sourced, and manufactured in ways that are good for people and good for the environment. We are dedicated to creating high-quality products that are more sustainable. To demonstrate our commitment, we recently set three bold targets, which we plan to achieve by 2020: 

  • 100% of K-Cup® packs will be recyclable. 
  • Reduce life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of brewed beverages by 25% versus a 2012 baseline. 
  • Achieve zero waste-to-landfill at our owned and operated manufacturing and distribution facilities.

From the design of our brewers and the cultivation of coffee and tea, all the way through end-of-life disposal, our aim is to understand our impacts and leave communities and people better off as the result of our business. We are innovating across our value chain — from offering recycling programs to developing recyclable portion packs and addressing the environmental impact of our operations. In addition, we’ve undertaken greenhouse gas and water footprinting studies to better understand our overall impact, and we’re developing partnerships across industries to address broader issues such as packaging and waste. We also encourage our consumers to use their purchasing power to favor products such as certified coffee and tea that support farmers and help to build strong, healthy communities around the world. 

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Our Value Chain

EXPLORE
1 Cultivation
2 Drying and Packing for Shipping
3 Processing
4 Packaging
5 Distribution
6 Consumption/Use
7 End of Life

For the coffee side of our business, there are seven basic stages in the value chain. From the cultivation of coffee beans to the perfect cup of coffee and end-of-life disposal, we seek to understand the impacts of our business and collaborate with others to make meaningful and lasting contributions to solving social and environmental challenges.

Reuse
We find ways to compost or repurpose the sacks coffee beans are packed in during shipment to our facilities.

Packaging & Shipping

After coffee is harvested, it must be dried, packaged in sacks, and transported. During this stage, energy is used for drying, storing, and mechanically hulling (removing the outer covering) the coffee beans. This stage of the value chain also includes transportation of green coffee beans to our facilities.

Renewable Energy
As we work toward minimizing direct energy use, we also mitigate current impacts by purchasing renewable energy credits.

Processing

Once we receive green coffee at our facilities, we roast it and grind it for packaging. We have established an infrastructure to track the energy use of our roasting operations in a new way, providing data that is more useful for managing energy efficiency.

Managing Waste
Each of our production facilities looks for ways to reduce product scrap at the source and sets targets for diverting waste from landfills through recycling, composting, and waste-to-energy programs.

Packaging

After we roast our coffee, we package it. This stage of the value chain includes the physical packaging of the roasted coffee as well as the upstream material requirements for the packaging itself (e.g., plastic, foil, filter paper). Addressing the environmental impact of our packaging materials is a top priority for us.

Transportation
By reconfiguring the pallets we ship between our plants and distribution centers, we have increased the number of K-Cup® packs we can fit on each truck by 23%. This helps us reduce the number of truckloads necessary to transport the same amount of product.

Distribution

After packaging, coffee is stored in a warehouse before being distributed. Environmental impacts of this stage include the energy use of warehouses and retail locations as well as fuel to transport the coffee to its destination and to transport consumers to retail locations.

Single-Cup Brewing
When looking at water use across the value chain, brewing with the Keurig® Hot platform saves 25 liters of water per 8 oz. cup compared with brewing a full pot of coffee.

Consumption/Use

Brewing a K-Cup® pack requires energy and water. However, when it comes to limiting coffee waste, single-cup brewing may minimize negative value chain impacts. About 12-15% of brewed batch coffee is thrown away without being served,1 wasting resources used from cultivation to brewing.
1Keurig/Godfrey Study Waste Coffee, May 2009

Waste to Energy
Recycling is a preferable choice for end-of-life disposal. However, when not possible, such as with our K-Cup® packs, we believe waste to energy is a good solution that provides a valuable resource.

End of Life

Once a K-Cup® pack is used, the packaging and grounds must be disposed of. While we continue working on end-of-life alternatives for single-cup packs, we also offer programs to help customers responsibly dispose of our current products.