Towards a Better World
OVER + ABOVE
Our mission is to honour people through great coffee, service, food, and spaces. We’re grateful that our customers have responded this mission, because it enables us to participate in initiatives that work for a better world beyond our own cafes and communities. The farmers who produce our amazing coffee happen to live in some of the poorest regions of the world. While we are committed to always paying above Fairtrade prices for the best coffees, our own Over + Above initiatives exist to make a positive difference in coffee growing countries.
John and Neto visit the coffee growing town El Chaupe, Peru in 2014.
Our first Over + Above projects took the form of building houses with Habitat for Humanity. Over the years, JJ Bean employees have been involved in building over nine houses in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Bolivia. Before each trip, JJ Bean supports employees in organizing fundraising events and then matches what is raised to reach the goal.
For over ten years, JJ Bean has sponsored tuition and living expenses for the education of girls in Kenya and Tanzania. Our stores support ten girls annually through the Canadian Harambee Education Society (CHES), and exchange letters with students regarding their progress.
In 2014, we funded a project which enabled coffee producers to build solar-powered drying beds near Chiclayo, Peru. This helped them to bring higher yields of better quality coffee to market.
Children in the town of Haro Dumal, Ethiopia following the opening of their new school.
In 2017, we partnered with imagine1day to build a preschool in Oromia, a renowned coffee growing region in Ethiopia. In our efforts to raise the $40,000 needed to build the school, we ended up raising around $75,000. With the surplus funds, we partnered with Run For Water to build a well to provide clean water for the area. Since then, we have contributed 50c from each bottle of still water sold to building wells in rural Ethiopia. Last year, Run for Water helped the community of Sizi provide clean water to over 75,000 residents. In 2021, four clean water sources were built in Hawo, Ethiopia, giving over 5,700 residents access to clean water for the first time in their lives, and positively impacting health, education, and opportunities for women and girls in the region. In 2018 we donated $15,000 to build a preschool centre in Sierra de Piura, a coffee growing region in Peru.
In 2022, out of a growing desire to give back in our local communities as well as in coffee regions, we started a committee led by a member of our Senior Leadership Team. Made up of JJ Bean staff, this committee meets regularly to discuss potential projects that partner with local organizations focused on the Environment, unhoused persons, Indigenous persons, and arts & culture. This year, the committee organized an art auction with pieces contributed by artists within JJ Bean. 100% of the proceeds will go to the Urban Native Youth Alliance (UNYA) this November. In addition, three times a week, the Quest Food Exchange picks up all our excess food for distribution to needy families.
Over the years we have tried our best to help with disaster relief internationally, usually through the Red Cross. Most recently, we were moved to help with the crisis in the Ukraine, as one of our past managers, Svitlana Lytvak, is Ukrainian. We reached out to Svitlana (now returned to her beloved homeland), who recommended two trusted organizations we could support. We raised approximately $8,000 for Serhiy Prytula and the Maple Hope Foundation to support volunteers on the ground and supply non-lethal support including medical supplies, body armour, helmets, and radio communication devices.
In 2009 we completely redesigned our roasting facility for optimum emissions control. To eliminate smoke, our roasting machine has its own individual emissions control unit, which converts smoke into thermal energy. We also use a computerized control system which we developed in partnership with an emissions control manufacturer. This system controls our afterburner so the level of activity matches the quantity of smoke produced by the roaster. This means that our emissions control system uses no more energy than it requires for its task. Since these changes, we have reduced our thermal energy output by roughly 30%.
Starting in October 2018, JJ Bean initiated new programs and further improvements to help reduce landfill waste. We now give a $0.50 discount to customers who bring in their own mugs, and a $0.25 discount if they use one of our mugs instead of a paper cup. To encourage travel mug use, when customers bought a travel mug in October 2018, we gave them the equivalent of their purchase in JJ Bean gift cards. This amounted to $50,000. To encourage less bag waste, we also increased the discount to $0.50 off for customers who bring in their own coffee bags.
Since 2018, we have been working with mugshare at our CBC and UBC locations. In 2021 we began working with Reusables at our Powell and Dollarton locations. Both programs are designed to reduce cup waste in the community.
This year, our UBC location has been working with Perk Eco, a nation-wide cup recycling program that uses a carbon-neutral courier and reusable shipping bags, to take one step closer to becoming a zero-waste coffee shop. We are currently considering implementing this at other JJ Bean locations.
In 2019 we switched our JJ Leaf tea bags from food-grade nylon to corn-based bio-bags. Our disposable cutlery is made from wood. Our till receipts are Ecochit. Our muffin bags are non-bleached, compostable material. Our cold cups and lids and our are 100% recyclable in residential blue boxes. Our forthcoming coffee bags (spring 2023) can be dropped off at your local soft plastics recycling facility in BC.
Our ‘returnables’ are collected at each of our retail sites and sent to Return It through Regional Recycling. 50% of the money collected through returns is donated to projects set by our Local Initiatives Committee (see above).
We give our burlap coffee bags away free of charge to those who want them for gardening or other purposes. Just call ahead to the wholesale office before picking up.
FOSTERING LOCAL COMMUNITY & CULTURE
JJ Bean annually supports DOXA Documentary Film Festival, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Eastside Culture Crawl and Writers Fest as distribution partners for their promotional literature. Both festival official programs can be picked up at any JJ Bean location during circulation time.
JJ Bean has a fundraising program that enables registered charities and schools to raise funds by selling JJ Bean coffee to their supporters. We provide the coffee at a significantly reduced price, enabling groups to mark up the coffee and give the difference to their cause. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get more information about our fundraising program.