Coffee for an Environmental Cause

Coffee for an Environmental Cause

September 24, 2020

If you’ve found yourself nodding along with Greta Thunberg, and believe in the power of innovation to save the environment, then the Coffee for Biogas Energy and Farmer’s Climate School is going to fill your heart.

Like all good ideas, the premise is simple and elegant.

Su-Re.co teamed up with Lil Lotus CoFFee team from the Montessori School Bali, in an attempt to improve Indonesian coffee farmers’ access to sustainable energy, while allowing them to make money from their product.

In short? Coffee to tackle climate change offers clean energy, education, and support for local farmers while empowering the next generation of kids to take sustainability seriously.

 

The Background

Let’s look at each element of the campaign and see exactly why it’s necessary.

Why coffee? Indonesia is responsible for around 7% of the world’s global coffee and is the fourth-largest producer of coffee in the world. This means that around 1 in 3 Indonesians are farmers.

However, Indonesia is being heavily impacted by climate chaos. Thanks to rising temperatures, East Indonesia is suffering from around 36% less rainfall than usual, as temperatures increase dramatically.

This is serving to exacerbate the problem of global warming. Indonesia is now one of the biggest greenhouse gas emitting countries in the world, and around 30% of Indonesians live off primary biomass energy such as firewood.

This unique problem in Indonesia has inspired su-re.co to get involved. su-re.co, which stands for Sustainability & Resilience, is a think-do-be-tank focusing on environmental issues in Bali, Indonesia.

Working with 120 international experts, policymakers, and farmers through bioenergy & climate change workshops in Bali developed a strategy to help fix the problem.

Enter, Biogas digesters.

What is a Biogas digester?

Biogas is a fuel that is produced naturally as organic waste breaks down. Anything from food scraps to animal waste breaks down in an oxygen-free environment and releases a blend of gases. These gases, when released to the atmosphere, contribute massively to global warming.
A biogas digester allows the waste to create the necessary gases but then channels the biogas into being reused rather than released. This is particularly good news for coffee farmers as the organic material creates a nutrient-rich sludge that works as fertilizer for plants.

Courtesy of su-re.co

 

This is a sustainable way to reduce the amount of gas being produced and released in a way that would allow Indonesia to stop producing intense amounts of greenhouse gases while allowing farmers to continue growing healthy and thriving coffee plants.

You might be wondering why biogas digesters aren’t everywhere. Fundamentally, it’s a question of cost. A typical biogas digester costs around USD$1000 to install and train people how to use it.

This is the su-re.co fix. The company has invented a transportable digester that costs USD$300 to install and train. In order to raise money for the project, their crowdfunding scheme worked to produce premium coffee using the biogas digester method.

Biogas digester in action. Courtesy of su-re.co

Education is Fundamental

Like many innovation systems, su-re.co has also been working hard to make sure that people are educated and understand what’s happening – and how the biogas digesters can help.

This has happened in the form of Coffee Schools. These are collaborative events with farmers where everybody can work collectively to help confront the issues of climate change. It includes education on how to use the biogas digesters and ensuring that they’re still working with the best and most relevant agricultural knowledge.

That’s not the only place that there has been a commitment to improving knowledge and education.

So su-re.co has worked with the Montessori School Bali to engage local youngsters in improving the state of the world. The focus on ethical and green business was a driving element of the Lil Lotus CoFFee team as they learn how to put academic theories into real-world practice.

What has happened since 2019?

Their Indiegogo campaign stopped in January 2019, after smashing its goal of $16000.

This campaign was split into several sections.

For starters, smaller investors could commit to buying certain amounts of coffee from the farmers involved. 35kg of coffee was sent by the end of 2019, to all of the investors. These included personal messages from the farmers who were responsible for growing the coffee beans.

As of September 2020, 28 biogas digesters have been installed around Indonesia, and are continuing to help improve the lives of farmers and the environmental impact.

Su-re.co has also hosted 6 Climate Field Schools. These schools involved working with local NGOs, farmers, and local government trainers who could learn more about the benefits of biogas digesters and the positive impact.

Finally, su-re.co has been working to develop more tools for the biogas digesters, which include tools to make it easier to see how much gas emissions have been reduced. su-re.co is continuing with their commitment to Indonesia, and helping local farmers to enjoy sustainability, financial stability, and to help save the world.

In terms of making the world a better place, su-re.co is showing the potential in working collaboratively with the people impacted in a way that makes financial sense.

What is Indiegogo?

Here are the words from Indiegogo itself:

Indiegogo is an online crowdfunding platform that brings Users together and allows Users to seek to raise funds for their own Campaigns and to contribute to the Campaigns of others. Campaign Owners can offer Perks to Contributors in thanks for the Contributors’ donation of funds.”

A ‘campaign’ is a fund-raising effort by a particular person, group, business, or company. If you invest in a campaign then you may receive the product or service advertised and this is called a ‘perk’.

However, you should understand that Indiegogo is not a shopping platform which means that even if you do invest in a product or service you may not receive the product or service.

As detailed in the Indiegogo terms of service

“Indiegogo Does Not Guarantee that Campaigns Will Succeed or that Perks Will Be Delivered or Deemed Satisfactory. By contributing to a Campaign, Contributors are supporting an idea, project, or cause they care about and want to help make happen. Like anyone getting in on an early-stage project, Contributors accept the risk that the Campaign may experience changes, delays, and unforeseen challenges, or that a Campaign, and its Perks, might not come to fruition”

So the main message here is ‘investor beware’ and only invest what you can afford to risk. OK?

 

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