Pablo & Rusty’s mission to be the most sustainable coffee company

Pablo & Rusty's

Specialty roaster Pablo & Rusty’s is on a mission to be known as one of the best and most sustainable companies in the coffee industry.

The team behind Pablo & Rusty’s believe making great coffee and operating sustainably can be achieved simultaneously. That’s why, according to CEO Abdullah Ramay, its business model and every product it sells is directly linked to either reducing its impact on the planet or making it a better place.

“Creating delicious coffee is at our core. It’s what we are known for and that will never change. However, our second love is the planet. We want to do as much good as possible, not because we’re perfect but because there are a lot of things that can be improved. We want to play our part in creating a better future for our planet,” says Abdullah.

Abdullah considers Pablo & Rusty’s to be a trailblazer in the specialty coffee industry. He says the roaster is constantly looking for ways to improve its practices and operate sustainably in every sense of the word.

“A few years ago, as a Leadership Team, we came across and read the book Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard, which introduced us to the B Corp Movement. Finally, we found a certification that could keep us accountable to our mission and also enable us to improve with each passing year,” says Abdullah.

B Corp certification recognises that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials. Businesses must demonstrate high social and environmental performance by achieving a B Impact Assessment Score of 80 or above and passing a risk review.

“In 2017, our first B Impact Score was 80.9. An average company is estimated to have a score of 50 to 55. We barely made it but were over the moon to be part of a small group of companies at the time in Australia that were B Corp,” says Abdullah.

“We implemented sustainable initiatives early on such as installing solar panels on our roasting warehouse roof and composting coffee grounds, and were one of the first companies to make our takeaway cups biodegradable in 2015.”

B Corp companies are recertified every three years. When the roaster underwent its second certification in 2020, it achieved a B Impact Score of 89.8.

“Our most recent certification gave us a score of 97.1. While it was a surreal feeling and incredible achievement, we’ve already identified areas where we can improve to increase our score again for the next certification,” he says.

“There’s no end to the B Corp process, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s a constant yardstick to measure our progress and identify areas of improvement. We look forward to our next recertification to see our progress and advance further.”

Pablo & Rusty’s is one of the only specialty coffee roasters in Australia to have B Corp, Carbon Neutral Organisation (through Climate Active, the Australian Government’s carbon-neutral certifying body) and 1% for the Planet certifications. The 1% for the Planet initiative sees the brand donating 1 per cent of its annual sales to support not-for-profit environmental causes.

“It’s not one per cent of profit, it’s one per cent of revenue, which means a portion of every single product is directly helping the planet. Our customers can feel proud their partnership with us is helping to create a better tomorrow. Our contributions have already surpassed $200,000,” says Abdullah.

“It’s hard to articulate the feeling of achievement our team experience every time we improve our B Impact Score, contribute to the 1% for the Planet program, or renew our Carbon Neutral Organisation certification. The point is not just to celebrate the progress but also to continue to improve. Small, consistent steps over time make a big impact.”

In the spirit of continuous improvement, Abdullah says Pablo & Rusty’s has three big goals: becoming 1% for the Planet certified, which it has already achieved; making all its packaging recyclable or compostable; and achieving a B Impact Score of over 100 in its next recertification.

“We want to challenge the assumption that you can’t be a successful and sustainable business,” he says.

“Cafés may be doing it tough out there, but now is the time to imagine a better future by changing the status quo and doing things differently. We can create a future together where cafés are financially, environmentally, and socially sustainable.”

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This article appears in the June 2024 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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