In coffee, water tends to be considered in terms of two fundamental applications: At origin, where wastewater management and water contamination downstream from wet mills presents long-term threats to water quality and availability; and in the café, where water is well understood as a primary factor affecting coffee quality and flavor.
Today, Keurig Green Mountain and the nonprofit Nature Conservancy announced an ambitious partnership that addresses water in yet another critical application — domestic water supply in one of the world’s largest consuming countries, the United States.
The partnership stems from Keurig’s $11 million water stewardship initiative launched last year, which established a sustainability target that would balance, ounce for ounce, the water used in its beverages through projects that restore an equal volume of water for natural and community uses. Notably, the announcement does not make mention of the water used in producing the plastic coffee capsules branded and sold by Keurig or by other roasters licensed for compatibility with the company’s brewing systems.
The partnership supports existing work being done by the Nature Conservancy in Vermont that explores how best to restore and protect natural infrastructure that retains and filters water, with goals in mind such as increased natural flood protection, restored wildlife habitats, and improved water quality in Lake Champlain. Additionally, the partnership will fund watershed management work in the Great Lakes region.
While these projects are focused on volumetric returns — measuring the volume of water being restored for natural and community uses — the groups say they also have a mutual focus on scalability and replicability.
Beginning in Keurig‘s home state of Vermont as well as the Great Lakes, this collaboration will support work by the Conservancy on projects that meet joint priorities, including measurable long-term conservation impacts and opportunities to leverage significant alternate funding streams.
In this morning’s announcement, Keurig Chief Sustainability Officer Monique Oxender said, “Keurig‘s approach to water stewardship aims to be both responsive and restorative, taking into account water impacts across our entire value chain — from source to consumption.”