Thursday, July 17, 2008

When will Tim Horton's go green?

An excellent article by Carl Hiehn Eye Magazine. A bit preachy but a lot of interesting information about coffee, litter and other Timmy's PR image. Hat tip to David Cox for the link.

Dear Tim Hortons: you could be a green giant
Why Canada’s biggest coffee company should double-double down on the environment

Here’s where we come to the opportunity — one maybe unique to you in this country. With your market share and the buying power that comes with it, and given the potency of your brand as a Canadian symbol — next to the beaver, the toonie and poutine — you could make a difference in the world while earning significant profit, mending your tarnished image and changing the way every other coffee company will do business in Canada forever.

The most pressing change you could make is shifting from the non-sustainable coffee plantations you buy from to sustainable and organic plantations. Your current farms harvest sun-grown coffee which, ignoring its serene name, is an environment killer that was genetically modified to be monocropped in lowland, ruined terrains that won’t grow any other product. This species requires heavy use of artificial fertilizers and expensive herbicides and pesticides that flow into the water table. Plus, taste is affected because the beans are picked before they’ve matured (hence, I guess, the popularity of double cream and double sugar).

The alternative, shade-grown coffee plantations, have various species of trees throughout the farm mirroring a natural ecosystem, which not only encourages biodiversity, but the roots of the trees stabilize sediment and soil, the likelihood of plague is lower and, most importantly, there’s less need for those expensive fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

It’s complicated, but it boils down to this: “Harvesting sun-grown is the equivalent of clear-cutting forests, while shade-grown coffee, which requires matured trees planted throughout the plantation, is on the same scale as selective logging,” as Howard Daugherty puts it.

1 comment:

laura b. said...

i completely agree with the lack of Tim Horton's involvement in a sustainable environment of its supply. Though they claim their product is 'price sensitive' it would be worth spending a few extra cents per cup of coffee in order to insure the plantations were not the result of mass deforestation. Also, I think it's time for their paper cups to be composed of post-recycled material, isn't it?

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