Designation issued by a nonprofit network certifying that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on various socioeconomic factors. Attaining this certification demonstrates a commitment to structural change of imbalanced economic systems via collective action.  

Designation for a business that intends on producing social benefits while operating sustainably.

An environmental charity focused on reforestation around the world, by planting one tree in a high-impact region for every dollar donated to the organization. 

International organization whose members contribute at least 1% of their annual revenues to environmental causes across climate, food, land, pollution, water and wildlife.

A non-profit environmental charity that plants trees around the world ($1 for 1 tree).

Direct donations to environmental or conservation causes as a core part of the roaster’s business mission.

Certification of a business that actively mitigates the carbon footprint from its business activities.

A Change Climate Project designation for a business actively working toward zero-emission operations.

A collaboration managed by Conservation International in which partners commit to sustainable practices throughout the coffee supply chain.

A commitment by all signatories to be transparent in how they source raw coffee, with the goal of removing inequity in the supply chain.

A trade association in which members commit to sustainable and equitable trading partnerships.

Coffee Features

Officially certified by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, the Bird Friendly designation means that the coffee is 100% USDA Organic and was planted on farms under native tree canopies, rather than landscapes that have been clearcut.  These types of farms are friendly habitats to a variety of migratory bird species, thus the name of the certification, and are also more effective for carbon sequestration and erosion controls. The difference between coffee labeled as only shade-grown, as opposed to Bird Friendly, is that the shade-grown term by itself is not certified or verified by any one party.

A non-governmental organization certifying products that support sustainability through social, economic, and environmental initiatives. Farmers can demonstrate they meet the requirements for the seal by focusing on issues related to forestry, climate, human rights, and livelihoods, all of which permeate the coffee business.  

The organic certification by the US Department of Agriculture indicates that the coffee producers have met certain standards for the growing and overall handling of coffee.

A new certification offered by the non-profit Regenerative Organic Alliance to farmers who exhibit high standards for soil health, animal welfare, and farmworker equity.  Regenerative agriculture methods are gaining in prominence as climate change accelerates erosion and carbon release.  Regenerative methods help to rehabilitate farmland and improve yields.  

A certification for farms focusing on a sustainable closed-system approach to soil fertility, solutions for pest control, water conservation and biodiversity.

Trade Features

One of the major fair trade certifying bodies. Fair Trade Certified indicates a guaranteed minimum price was paid for the raw coffee as a protection against low commodity prices.  The certification standards also address safe working conditions, traceability, and overall fair compensation.

One of the major fair trade certifying bodies.  The Fairtrade America mark means that a brand has been certified for ethical and equitable practices. For coffee, this means in part that coffee farmers are paid a premium over the base commodity price for coffee, which has been depressed for some time and is insufficient by itself as a sustainable income.

An unofficial term for direct, long-term and equitable trade relationships between roaster/buyer and farmer.

A raw coffee-buying initiative that pays farmers prices that are proportional to current retail prices for roasted coffee, regardless of where the commodity spot for coffee.

Other mechanisms for ensuring farmers receive some type of premium for their coffee, above market or fair trade prices.


The bare minimum for a coffee labeled as single origin.

Any region or area within a country that can further detail where the coffee was grown.

Any further specification in terms of geolocation, even down to the specific farm lot.

Identification of soil types (volcanic, loam etc) can assist in more precise traceability.

Altitudes are typically expressed as a range of meters above sea level, and help trace coffee back to a specific location.

Identification of processing methods (such as natural, honey or washed) can aid in traceability and identification efforts.

Cost breakdowns for a single origin coffee should detail all components of its final retail price, including the price paid for raw coffee and transportation.

Listing the environmental or agricultural certifications a coffee or farm may possess is critical for consumers to understand what they are paying for.

Roaster Features

Proprietary and unique engineering to further reduce carbon emissions.

Closed-system roasters with no venting required and no emissions.

Added component of roasting equipment (to supplement existing afterburners) that oxidizes waste/harmful gases.

Roasting equipment without gas lines and associated emissions.

Roasting equipment powered by biomass material, as a renewable alternative to fossil fuels.

Roasting equipment powered by solar energy, with no use of fossil fuels.

Packaging Features

Packaging innovations that utilize less raw material than traditional methods.

Packaging materials that can be broken down naturally without causing any harm.

Packaging materials that can be broken down and used again as raw materials.