Joe & The Juice is a coffee shop chain based in Copenhagen, Denmark with 300 locations around the world. It was founded in 2002 by Kaspar Basse. Supposedly, its coffee is organic and fair trade, but it does not disclose who the third party certifier is which invalidates these claims. I would urge the company to be transparent about working conditions and environmental impacts at the plant in Honduras where it sources its coffee from.
Espresso and milk are the sole ingredients in the latte. Joe & The Juice’s website indicates that its coffee is fully organic but it is unclear as to who it has received an organic certification from. Until the company discloses this information and/or its definition of organic, it cannot be considered sustainable. The customer has a choice of whole milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, and soy milk in their latte. Dairy milk is unsustainable, resulting in “3 times the greenhouse gas emissions of any non-dairy milks” because of the large quantities of methane emitted by cows (BBC). Dairy milk also requires more land and water than any non-dairy milk. A study published by BBC compares several alternatives to dairy milk and finds that almond milk is the least sustainable due to its massive water footprint and oat milk is the most sustainable. On a side note, Joe & The Juice does not charge extra for choosing non-dairy milk unlike most coffee shops, which is important because it does not punish the consumer for making an eco-conscious decision.
Joe & The Juice needs to do a better job at disclosing the production side of its coffee because “the biggest source of environmental damage where coffee is concerned comes during the production of the beans themselves” (The Guardian). There is no way of knowing whether the company uses traditional or commercial agricultural practices which makes all the difference in terms of sustainability. Regardless, an operation of that size will result in some land, water, and soil degradation. A short video found on its website shows clips of Joe & The Juice’s production/processing site in Honduras, known as COMISYL, and forest has evidently been cleared for coffee farming which contributes to tropical deforestation and loss of biodiversity in Honduras. On the brightside, the wet mill used on-site is powered entirely by renewable energy. The steps of the process are as follows: planting the coffee seeds, harvesting the cherries from coffee trees, processing the cherries, drying the beans, milling the beans, exporting the beans, roasting the coffee, grinding the coffee, brewing the coffee. It is safe to assume that these steps are carried out by energy-and water intensive machinery which is probably why coffee has a large water and carbon footprint.
Joe & The Juice has a sustainability section on its website where it states: “we care about leaving the Planet in a better state than we found it in therefore reducing our impact on the environment”. Indeed, the company has made strides toward sustainability in recent years, most of which are related to waste. For example it has switched to paper straws and wooden cutlery, ensured its napkins are made from 100 percent recycled materials, separated its waste into 3 categories (trash, recycling, composting), and overall reduced its waste by 98 percent. The company is also committed to providing its employees with good working conditions, fair salary, and full benefits. The company falls short on inclusivity, hiring predominantly men on the younger side. While the company maintains that it does not practice gender profiling when hiring, 80 percent of the employees are male and these demographics look the same at the corporate level. Less is disclosed about the treatment and pay of the workers at COMISYL, the coffee plant in Honduras where Joe & The Juice sources its coffee beans from.