Wolff Coffee Roasters explains the value of implementing Environmental Sustainable Governance standards, and why transparency is the key to building trust.
At Wolff Coffee Roasters, we realise that our actions have reactions on society and the environment.
As owners and leaders of a business, it’s important to Peter and I that we demonstrate a model of behaviour to our staff that embraces our values, and the legacy we want our business to be known for. Integrity and trust are more important than ever in today’s business world, and it’s something we must uphold if we want our team to be proud of working with us and remain an employer of choice.
Through our Environmental Social Governance (ESG) Framework, we commit to sustainable development in the local and global environment we operate. Our four focus priorities include governance, environment, community, and wolffpack – which embraces everyone within our supply chain, through to the people we serve our product to. These four areas form and guide the ESG framework, how we minimise our environmental footprint, and constructively contribute to communities.
To us, being ethical means doing the right thing. It is the foundation of being a sustainable company. Like many businesses, a set of policies, standards and operating procedures need to be maintained to provide further guidance.
Training (incidental and planned) and regular team meetings support and monitor the implementation of our requirements.
We align and enhance our current guidelines and management system to meet standards in areas such as operational risks, fire, life, safety, and food safety; data privacy and cyber security; human rights such as labour practices and harassment; and crisis and business continuity, such as natural disaster and the pandemic crisis.
Who would have thought we’d face COVID-19, then extreme flooding several times over? It’s just the complexity of the world we’re living in, and another complication to consider. Therefore, your ESG plans need to be complex to cater for more frequent and extreme weather events.
As a business, we need to have a recovery plan for future flooding events. We need to consider how it would impact our business, how we could still supply our customers, what arrangements we would need if we lost power, or needed external providers to roast and pack our coffee off-site. New risks are constantly evolving, and we need to adapt. If you think it won’t happen to you, think again.
Wolff Coffee Roasters operates more energy efficiently and are more resource conscious compared to 10 years ago because of the stronger environmental commitment in the entire supply chain.
Together with our partners and stakeholders, we must take a step forward to keep the Earth inhabitable for future generations. It’s important to also understand the capacities of your supplier.
You may want big trajectory projects to happen fast, but do realise that progress can take time, and you’ve both got to walk a similar pathway.
We have worked hard over the past seven years to develop and implement numerous operational environmental changes to benefit our planet. This includes a strong recycling program of soft plastics, cardboard, and implementing all soft plastics packaging in 2020. We carbon offset all our gas and electricity. Our green coffee from Brazil, Mexico, Honduras, Ethiopia, and Nicaragua also arrives carbon free.
In the coming years, we will further enhance our policies, standards, and guidance throughout our business life cycle from design, build, procurement, operation, and disposal, to achieve our environmental goals.
We take our community investment seriously. We operate locally and have built long-term relationships with our local neighbourhood, being “the local roaster with a big heart”. This ethos held us in good stead during COVID-19, not only
as a local roaster, but one with a global outlook.
As coffee is the core of our business, it means we continually look down the supply chain for ways to help our farmers, otherwise they may not be there in five years’ time when we need them.
One such way is through our “Farmer in Residence” initiative. Since 2016, we have supported community projects with our farmers at origin, and have hosted farmers from Kenya, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Papua New Guinea, and Brazil. Each farmer has spent time in our business. We’ve been able to educate them on our Wolff ethos, and knowledge share together. Talks are already underway to host one of our producers from Brazil and Zambia next year.
Since 2016, we have also focused heavily on our local community program, working with numerous not-for-profit organisations, charities, groups, and individuals. One particular project I’m passionate about is Dancing CEOs, a fundraiser for women’s legal service which I (Penny) have been actively involved with since 2019.
Here at Wolff Coffee Roasters, initiatives that embrace the educational sector, arts, and general wellbeing appeal to us most, but it’s important to support groups and charities that mean something to you.
We’re fortunate to be in a position to give back. We understand businesses have to generate profit, us included, and we understand that the next couple of years will be challenging for many businesses managing their margins closely. Even if you can contribute 1 to 2 per cent of your turnover to support a local charity, the reward is always richer.
With fragile staffing and culture concerns, it’s also important to find ways to keep your team engaged. We encourage our team to contribute to the local community, through donations and visits, free or in-kind sponsorships and employee volunteering with partnerships that address various social problems.
For us, hosting the 2022 Australian AeroPress Championship in October wasn’t without consideration. We first asked ourselves: “Why? What is the reason for doing it?” We then posed the question to our team, and one of the clear values they identified, was how it spoke to our pillar of community. Our team identified how challenging the past few years had been, and the importance of mental health. As such, we asked them what charity we could give our proceeds from the competition to, and thanks to the collective power of our team, chose Australian mental health and wellbeing support organisation Beyond Blue.
We are committed to fostering an engaging and respectful work environment for our staff – our Wolff pack – to unleash their full potential. We want to inspire them to become true Wolff ambassadors. Our commitment is supported by systems that set out the guiding principles, review performance, promotes an open dialogue culture, grows talent, and helps advance careers.
Inclusivity is also really important. We embrace employees of all backgrounds and abilities, and partner with organisations to support people’s reintroduction into the workforce after experiencing a difficult period in their life. We want to help restart their working life and see them thrive. In return, they are some of our most loyal and valuable team members.
In the coming years, Wolff Coffee Roasters will focus on three critical components for our wolffpack: Enhancing a fair and equal working environment to attract and retain modern talent; cultivating a learning mindset that enables our team to stay relevant and confident; and fostering a caring, inclusive, and collaborative workplace culture where synergy come from the diversity of thoughts and mutual respect.
Giving back to the community is something we’re proud of. It’s part of our legacy and goes beyond profit.
We want to be remembered as coffee people but more importantly, good people helping others.
For more information, visit wolffcoffeeroasters.com.au
This article appears in the December 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.