Sustainably sourced cold-brew showcases an exciting partnership

Chameleon Coffee, a company with impressive environmental and social initiatives, is now on tap in Einstein’s Cafe

As an Einstein’s Cafe regular as well as an avid cold-brew coffee fan, I was excited when I, along with many other students, noticed the new cold-brew tap at our campus cafe. The Chameleon Cold-Brew Coffee (with traditional and nitro versions) double-tap has been up and running for the past few weeks. 

With a new brand present on campus, I was eager to research this company and find out what makes their coffee so special, and what I found was an impressive track-record of corporate initiatives focused on social and environmental sustainability. 

Founded in Austin, TX by two coffee specialists in 2010, Chameleon Cold-Brew has since become the first major fair trade and organic cold-brew coffee producer in the United States, touting social and environmental sustainable practices since they began. The company, now owned by Nestle USA, has reached across the country and can be found both as ready-to-drink, bottled cold-brew in stores like Whole Foods, Harris Teeter and Target, or on-tap in select coffee shops and local cafes around the nation. 

This semester, Christopher Newport became the first and only university in the southeast US to offer this brand of cold-brew on-tap on campus. Not only is their cold-brew coffee delicious and high-quality, it is also ethically and responsibly sourced. Here’s a rundown on some of the practices that make Chameleon Cold-Brew a responsible corporation, and why that is an important factor of our current consumer-economy.

Chameleon’s website almost immediately puts their sustainable practices on the table for consumers to access, which is an important level of transparency not often found in today’s marketplace. Right away, their site emphasizes that their mission is to “develop long-term economic, environmental and social sustainability through compassionate leadership throughout the coffee supply chain.”

Because coffee is brewed using the fruits (or beans) of plants in the tropical genus Coffea, our daily cup of coffee travels a long way to reach us here in the mid-Atlantic US. Chameleon has sought to be involved in sustainable ways throughout this journey, starting at their coffee farms in countries like Guatemala, Myanmar, Colombia, Indonesia and Peru. 

Some of their key social sustainability projects in these countries include community partnerships with farmers to support their livelihoods via farm restoration, women-led co-ops in local, organic farming and special attention to agricultural communities that are recovering from socio-political conflicts. 

After all, fair trade status means that the company takes international equity, dialogue, transparency and respect seriously into their practices and management

Environmentally, Chameleon prides themselves on 100% organic practices and 100% recycled packaging. Organic coffee entails what the company calls a “holistic approach” to agriculture and environmental conditions, with goals of preserving biodiversity and reducing overall environmental impacts. Furthermore, all Chameleon coffee grounds are composted after their use for brewing and are used in gardening practices. The company has also aimed to reduce their carbon emissions via the Green Mountain Energy offset program in which they indirectly invest in local renewable energy sources. 

Altogether, it is evident that Chameleon Cold-Brew takes sustainability seriously, and I am excited that their products are available on campus now. Corporate social and environmental responsibility is something that is crucial to our planet and communities in the face of the climate crisis, loss of biodiversity and unsustainable consumerism and researching the companies you support is a great way that you a more informed and sustainable consumer.

~James Duffy, Staff Writer~

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