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Our Voiceless Planet: Fundraising for the NRDC

A message from CEO Bryan Meehan

On July 9, 100% of proceeds from our Georgetown cafe will benefit the NRDC.

At Blue Bottle, we think a lot about the values of hospitality, sustainability, and deliciousness.

As a company, we have a voice and an obligation. When we witness something that challenges our values, we are compelled to act.

Earlier this year, we responded to the unfortunate news surrounding immigration by participating in a coffee fundraiser for the ACLU that collectively raised $423k. We knew we had to act on this, because hospitality is core to who we are. We mean it when we say (as we tell every single barista who comes to work in our cafes): “Everyone is welcome. We welcome everyone.”

On June 1, the U.S. announced its exit from the Paris Climate Agreement—an agreement that galvanized the global community in the fight against climate change. As our country pushes further into isolationism, it becomes clearer and clearer that we must act as global citizens. Those of us who are privileged enough to have a voice must use it. It’s our obligation to those who do not.

One of the voiceless is our planet.

NRDC Fundraiser

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a voice for the planet. They’re nature’s ACLU. They stand up for our shared resources—plants, animals, natural systems—and they litigate on their behalf.

So, on July 9, when we open our doors to our first-ever cafe in Washington, D.C., we’re donating 100% of the day's proceeds to the NRDC.

It’s a small act that we can take in the city that legislates our future.

At Blue Bottle, we work to create an inclusive and hospitable environment where no particular political, racial, or cultural affiliation is expected or required. We don’t want to tell you what to think, or how to feel. We want you, first and foremost, to enjoy the simple pleasure of delicious coffee in a tranquil space.

But we also believe that climate change is not a political issue. It is a human one.

On a grand scale, our cafes create networks of people bound together in conversation. I want to personally open the conversation for a common cause that I think many of you care deeply about.

Sustainability at Blue Bottle

We are a company that puts products into the world. So, we make waste.

But we’ve worked incredibly hard to eliminate the waste in our cafes, and we’re proud to say that as of today, we are 89% waste-free.* (As the self-appointed Director of Sustainability at Blue Bottle, I’m the first to say that we can always do better and that our work is never “done.”)

Currently, all of our cafes use composting systems, and all of our cups, lids, straws, and filters are 100% compostable. Our take-away containers are recyclable. We produce very little actual “trash” in our cafes. (A couple sources of trash include the plastic wrapping that our bundles of compostable straws arrive in, and the plastic sleeves that our compostable cups and lids arrive in.)

Our dairy is organic wherever possible, as are many of our coffees. We source coffees from producers who are stewards of sustainability, and we invest dollars and hours to help our farmers reduce water waste and improve coffee harvesting and processing practices, so that we can ensure the sustainability of every cup of coffee that we place into your hands.

As CEO, my obligation is to make Blue Bottle Coffee a pioneer in environmental sustainability and community activism. I encourage all of you to act in whatever small way inspires you. For my twelve-year-old daughter, Orla, that means keeping bees and harvesting wild honey in the garden behind our home.

I hope you will join us for a coffee in Georgetown on July 9. I can’t wait to see our community turn out on this day to raise money for the NRDC.

Thank you for your support.

—Bryan Meehan


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*Based on a recent study conducted by Environmental Study Associates, our Sansome cafe diverted ~89% of waste from the landfill, with ~45% composted and ~44% recycled. 

Our Georgetown cafe previews to the public for Friends & Family Day on July 7. On Friends & Family Day, we are supporting the neighborhood organization Bread for the City. Our Grand Opening is on July 9, with all proceeds benefiting the NRDC.


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By Bryan Meehan

Published Jul. 7, 2017

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