The 2015 RSPCA Animal Hero Awards was held last night in London and hosted by actress Amanda Holden.
Over 2,000 businesses, organisations and individuals were nominated for the awards and Cafeology made it to the final three shortlisted in the Oustanding Business of the Year category. Finalists were decided by a panel of judges including RSPCA Chief Veterinary Officer James Yeates, Countryfile presenter Michaela Strachan and Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan.
The category recognises a business that has made animal welfare an important consideration for its business practices. We were nominated for our Bird Friendly coffee initiative; a project for which we also received a Guardian Sustainable Business award in April this year. We were delighted to win and have our award presented to us by Arlene Phillips CBE.
Bryan Unkles, our founder and director, said: “We are humbled to have been nominated and then gone on to win in our category, but the ceremony was about much more than that; we shared an amazing evening with a diverse mix of people who all had values and ethics in common and animal welfare at heart. It was touching to hear such heartwarming stories from the other inspiring nominees.
“Yes we’re a business, but the environment has been at the forefront of our practices since we started the company in 2003. With this project we wanted to help protect migratory birds after hearing about how destructive some coffee farming can be to their natural habitats.”
We set out to raise awareness of the need for more sustainable, shade-grown coffee in 2014 when we launched our premium fully traceable, environmentally friendly Bird Friendly coffee for the UK market.
The coffee is cultivated by the Guaya’b Co-operative in Guatemala under the shade of tropical canopies and is farmed in a way that protects the rainforest, encourages migratory birds to flourish and improves growers’ livelihoods.
This single estate Arabica coffee is certified by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre in Washington DC and is also the first coffee to be endorsed by the RSPB, the UK’s largest conservation charity; a donation from the sale of every tin goes directly to the organisation.
The success of Bird Friendly certified coffee is measurable. Research by the SMBC in Peru shows that while a sunny plantation harbours just 61 species of birds, this number jumps to 243 when coffee is cultivated under a canopy of ten tree species or more.
We have maintained strong ethical and environmental principles since the business started. In 2015 Bryan visited the Guaya’b Co-operative to see first-hand how its practices help to preserve tropical forests and provide a healthy habitat for birds and other wildlife.
He learnt that the farmers must be re-certified every three years in order to retain their Bird Friendly status. Meanwhile, the premium prices they obtain for their product is invaluable in supporting their families and boosting local economies.