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Decarbonising a local coffee chain

Decarbonising a local coffee chain

A project done by Climate Action Catalyst

The brief

Our client is a local coffee chain looking to get started on their climate journey. With respect to sustainability, they have mostly pursued circularity, zero-waste strategies (e.g. encouraging customers to bring their own cups, return and reuse initiatives for coffee bottles). However, when it comes to transitioning towards zero carbon and positioning themselves as a climate leader to their customers and stakeholders, they have not started.

Within their operations, there are many drivers of emissions from running the different in-store electrical appliances to transporting the beans to stores, all the way to the embodied emissions in their coffee beans. With respect to calculation, the company does not know which of the numerous sources of emissions to include and calculate. The company, having just started to transition out of a pandemic, is also tight on cash and manpower is stretched. They are sensitive to decarbonization initiatives that would require significant capital or manpower to implement.

Looking more into the future, the company also wonders how they can use this new climate leadership in a way to stand out in a crowded F&B scene and communicate these to their customers and other stakeholders in a meaningful and powerful way.

The solution - Calculate

Our project was split into two parts of ‘Calculate’ and ‘Taking Action’. For ‘Calculate’, we sought to calculate the company’s carbon footprint. To understand the unique drivers specific to the company, we conducted a life cycle analysis from cradle to grave of the company’s main product of coffee, identifying and qualifying the different drivers at each stage of the coffee’s life cycle.


From there, we drew on leading global frameworks like the GHG Protocol, Global Reporting Initiative and the Science-Based Targets Initiative to create our own in-house carbon footprint framework and calculator that was lightweight enough to be deployed into the SME context.


The calculation was divided into Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions. As the company had no scope 1 emissions, we focused solely on Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions. For Scope 2 emissions, we reviewed the company’s electricity bills and plugged in Singapore’s geographic-specific emission factor to derive Scope 2 emissions.

For scope 3 emissions, we drew on the life cycle analysis to identify the various scope 3 sources. As scope 3 is often incredibly complex and immense, with many sources lying very much outside of the company’s control, we conducted a materiality assessment to understand which scope 3 sources were material to the company. We filtered the different drivers through the key criteria of meaningfulness and feasibility.


Is it meaningful to track this scope 3 emission source? (Can the company realistically work towards reducing emissions within this source? For e.g. it is more meaningful to measure emissions from roasting beans and work with suppliers towards more energy efficient roasting practices v.s. measuring embodied emission from stationary from the company’s office.)


Is it possible to track this scope 3 emission source? (This would mean having availability of sufficient data and the specific emission factor.)

With that, we created a carbon map with quantified and qualified emissions from the company, allowing the company to get a clearer picture of their footprint and open a productive conversation on which emission drivers to target for reduction.

The solution - Taking Action

The carbon footprint calculator and report is presented to the company who is then engaged to through a co-creation workshop to prioritise the 2 decarbonization initiative that they would like to pursue. The company can select the initiatives based on their appetite for investment and transformation. The team will then develop detailed roadmaps for these decarbonization initiatives that is tailored to the company’s needs. We work with the company to create the best implementation timeline, find the best solution providers, and see if grants can be accessed.


From there, we get to know the company’s level of climate ambition and investment appetite for their climate transformation. We can work together to find the best climate certification that fits the most realistic decarbonization pathway the company would be taking.

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