We try to live our founding values in everything we do. We strive to improve continually the quality of our coffee, tea, and baked and savoury food. We respect the effort it takes on the part of our grower partners in many countries and at local farms. We do our best to continue their commitment to quality by bringing out the very best in raw, quality ingredients. And we do this consciously with a view to how we can minimize our impact on the environment. Read on if you'd like to know more about how we put these commitments into practice.
The best speciality grade coffees are grown at high elevations in hard to reach temperate regions. Farmers must pick coffee cherries by hand, and they visit their trees several times during harvest to ensure cherries are picked only when fully ripe. These are sensitive ecological areas, often parts of watersheds, prone to erosion. Our commitment is to coffee grown in harmony with the environment, meaning diverse coffee varieties grown within a rich biodiversity, under shade trees, actively managed using methods which are organic, conserve water and rely on very little outside inputs. This approach doesn't just benefit the environment, it promotes farmer health too. We believe you can taste the difference this commitment makes in the cup.
We consider the environment in all of our business decisions:
In our coffeehouses we offer porcelain and glassware for service in our coffeehouses and all of our take out cups and containers are compostable. Our waste streaming program has eliminated waste to a negligible amount through recycling (paper, glass, plastics, metal) and composting in each coffeehouse.
We have invested in reusable shipping containers to transport coffee and kitchen goods to our coffeehouses. We continue to research packaging, service, and cleaning products that have a higher recycled content and that are considered more environmentally responsible by Canadian environmental certifiers.
We source from local companies, whenever possible, that grow produce or manufacture products locally to reduce transportation requirements, for example, milk, cream, vegetables, beef, eggs, and honey.
We’re also pleased to offer you used coffee grounds for your garden. Coffee grounds help to make great compost, particularly when combined with leaves and grass to balance acidity. Ask for used grounds at any Bridgehead coffeehouse.
Most of the world’s coffee is cultivated by small-scale farmers, on plots of land of about 2 hectares. Throughout coffees’ long history, farmers have been disadvantaged. Our commitment is to only work with small-scale farmers, to only purchase their best coffees, and at prices that recognize the farmer’s skill and effort. We only work with quality oriented farmers who believe like we do that it is quality and differentiation that will command premium prices consistently over time, ensuring sustainable livelihoods for them and their families. For consumers, this just happens to mean unique and great tasting coffees.
All of our coffees are both certified organic (OCIA) and Fair Trade Certified (Fair Trade Canada). Third-party certification can be debated, as it is both a cost for farmers and an administrative burden, with a nominal benefit at best in terms of income. However, third party certification systems which provide for traceability all the way along the chain of custody, remain the best assurance for both coffee drinkers and farmers alike with respect to the price that was paid, and confirmation of the conditions under which a coffee was grown. We support the evolution of third party certification systems to be more farmer friendly, such as by shared inspections or use of emerging technologies.
Fair Trade Certification
The TransFair logo is your guarantee. It stands for fairness and global social responsibility in international trade. Buying Fair Trade Certified products helps make the world a better place by paying farmers and workers in developing countries a fair price. All Bridgehead coffees, teas, and chocolate are certified fair trade:
TransFair is Canada's certification organization for fair trade coffee, tea, cocoa and sugar. The fair trade certified logo is an independent certification that adheres to monitoring criteria and standards set out by the Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO). The TransFair Canada logo guarantees consumers that their coffee, tea, cocoa, bananas, and sugar originate from FLO monitored producers in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Learn about Fair Trade Certified products in Canada, and about the rigorous system of global commerce that’s behind the logo by visiting www.fairtrade.ca.
Organic Crop Improvement Association Certification
All Bridgehead coffees and teas are certified organic. Certification means that an independent inspector has monitored the on-farm activities and has verified that all practices are in compliance with organic standards. Our coffee Roastery has also been certified by the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA). Growers of Bridgehead coffees and teas have received organic certification from respected certification agencies (e.g., OCIA), many of which are accredited by IFOAM (International Federation for Organic Agricultural Movements). For more information you can visit the OCIA website www.ocia.org.