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How We Define Responsibly Sourced

You may have seen claims such as “100% Ethically Sourced,” “Direct Trade,” “Responsibly Sourced,” and “100% Sustainable” coffee. Without any industry-wide definitions for these terms, it can sometimes be difficult to understand what each organization means by them.

We refer to the coffee we offer through Project 2050 as responsibly sourced coffee. This means we define our purchasing practices based on our commitment to sustainable environmental stewardship. We work with our producers to strengthen their efforts in four key areas — tree management, water management, coffee quality improvement, and environmental education — that promote sustainable farming and coffee processing practices. The Arbor Day Foundation’s Coffee Purchasing Standards are drafted with the intention of achieving authentic and meaningful dialog, tailoring program objectives to address specific environmentally focused goals within each coffee-producing area.

To ensure that our coffee is truly responsibly sourced, we follow four core purchasing practices:


Require direct communication with coffee supply chain actors involved with each coffee purchase.

Direct communication often begins with an email, followed by an official visit to the supplier’s operations including coffee fields, processing stations, dry mills, and the warehousing locations. In addition to personal visits, our team regularly communicates with our suppliers via WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Google Earth to further strengthen our relationships.


Focus on the recognition and understanding of each coffee supplier’s production and processing management practices while inspiring improvements and responsible environmental practices within each coffee supply chain.

As we are first and foremost an environmental nonprofit educational organization, our primary goal is to inspire people to plant trees to create and maintain healthy environmental landscapes within coffee-producing areas. We want to help communities improve water quality, soil productivity, and coffee processing practices which will ultimately help achieve higher-quality coffees with greater profitability.


Promote coffee producer decision-making in how standards are incorporated into his or her practice and how results are reported back to the foundation.

Although trees are vital within agriculture, coffee landscapes, communities, cultures, and economic situations will always call for unique scenarios and action plans. Therefore, responsible actions are defined and proposed by local producers, agronomists, and technicians to help develop plans best suiting local realities.


Offset twice the amount of carbon emissions produced for every pound of coffee purchased from Project 2050-recognized producers.

The cost of these carbon offsets is included in the list price for green coffee offerings.

Purchase Project 2050 Green Coffee Today

Contact the Project 2050 team at or 402-473-9544.

Follow @ADF2050 to receive updates.