While sometimes it might seem that there are large differences between the different groups on campus, there is one thing that may unite all of us: we drink coffee from the same coffee machines. And while it may seem insignificant, the coffee machines fuel the work that is being done on our campus. In 2019 (before Corona drove us all to work from home) over 2 million consumptions were distributed by the many machines on our campus.
With the current contract for the hot drink vending machines coming to an end, it was time to find a new supplier. Because the university is a public institution, finding a supplier for such a big contract is done through a tendering procedure. That means that all companies get the opportunity to apply to be the new supplier, after which they are scored based on pre-determined criteria. With sustainability now being an important part of the university’s strategy for 2030, it could not miss the coffee machine tender. Some improvements in the sustainability of our hot drinks were part of the requirements set by the TU/e. For instance, the TU/e requested a few machines that contain a plant-based milk alternative and disposable cups will be removed from the machines. Other improvements depended on the specific applicants: all applicants were judged on their sustainable impact, which contributed significantly to the total score that could be obtained.
A representative of the Go Green Office was part of the assessment commission on the impact criterium. In the TU/e’s strategy for sustainable procurement, six themes are defined. These are climate control, circularity, environmental impact, chain responsibility, social sustainability, and innovative strength. Based on delivered documents by the applicants, the impact on these themes was determined. In the end, MAAS won the contract and will remain our coffee supplier. However, this still means a change, since they will place new machines (with energy label A++ and a self-learning stand-by mode) and a new coffee blend.
MAAS offered us three different coffee blends. Which coffee will end up in our machines, depends on the TU/e community. On the 27th and 28th of February, a tasting will be held in Auditorium where everybody can taste the three different coffee blends and vote for their favorite. Each of the blends makes a sustainable impact in its own way, which is described below.
This main aim of this coffee blend is to create value in the country of origin and to provide a fair price for the farmers, while stimulating the local economy. Elements from the value chain are permanently moved from Western Europe to Ethiopia. This includes the farming, washing, drying, roasting, final quality check and packing. If the full value of the coffee supply chain remains in the country of origin, new jobs will be created.
Circle of Beans
This blend is a 100% circular coffee, with no loss of raw materials and no CO2 emissions. Coffee grounds are collected separately and brought to the roastery of Circle of Beans. There, they are converted to biogas, which in turn is used to roast the green coffee beans. The cars of Circle of Beans run on the remaining biogas and the roasted beans are packed in reusable buckets, which are also used to collect the coffee grounds from the machines.
This coffee creates socially sustainable impact in Eindhoven. In a collaboration between MAAS, Coffeelab and de Springplank, homeless people are given the opportunity to develop further by offering a meaningful daytime activity or workplace. Moreover, the coffee is also distributed in reusable buckets.