Costa Express served ISO 14001 sustainability standard

Costa Coffee has been awarded the ISO 14001 International Standard for Environmental Management Systems for its self-serve 'Express' outlets, less than a week after the organisation was scrutinised for its approach to managing waste coffee cups.

Costa Express now operates more than 5,500 self-service coffee machines in nine international markets, with plans to expand to 8,000 machines by 2020. Photo:

Costa Express now operates more than 5,500 self-service coffee machines in nine international markets, with plans to expand to 8,000 machines by 2020. Photo:

The ISO 14001 certification, confirmed by the retailer today (2 August),  comes after a series of sustainability measures were applied across the Costa Express business, which now operates more than 5,500 machines and serves more than 80 million cups of coffee annually.

“Costa Express is committed to proactively managing its environmental impact,” said Costa Express’s managing director Murray McGowan. “Progress can only be demonstrated through effective measurement, which is why we hold ourselves to rigorous standards based on quality measurements and insights. These not only benefit the environment, but also reduce costs and improve efficiency within Costa Express.”

Increased efficiencies

Through its work with sustainability consultancy Simply Sustainable, Costa Express has increased efficiencies across the business, with a particular focus on energy use.

The machines themselves now incorporate insulated boilers to make them more efficient and reduce energy usage, leading to energy savings of around 400w a day. New boilers are now being supplied with the insulation fitted as standard, whilst all of the older boilers are being upgraded to include the insulation.  Costa Express is also now exploring how to optimise the amount of water required when using and cleaning the machines.

Meanwhile, the Costa Express fleet which supplies the machines now uses telematics (vehicle tracking) to optimise driver routes, reduce maintenance callouts and encourage more efficient driving by measuring fuel economy.

“Costa Express has worked tirelessly to integrate sustainable decision making in every part of the business,” said Simply Sustainable’s chief executive Nicola Stopps.

ISO 14001 revision

The brand now joins more than 324,000 other organisations that are certified to the ISO 14001 Standard, which essentially outlines how to put an effective environmental management system in place and is designed to help businesses remain commercially successful without overlooking environmental responsibilities.

Based on a ‘Plan-Check-Do-Review-Improve’ cycle, ISO 14001 was recently revised to become more integrated into core business processes, with an extra focus being placed on leadership and top management and communicational performance.

Around 40% of ISO 14001-certified businesses have saved at least £10,000 a year through the Standard, with some saving as much as £5m through improved environmental management, according to the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). The majority of these savings were delivered through energy efficiency measures (71% of ISO 14001-certified businesses surveyed by IEMA) and improved waste management (64% of those surveyed). 

War on Waste

Costa Express’s ISO 14001 certification comes just days after Costa Coffee was vilified for “misleading the public” when it comes to the recyclability of coffee cups.

The Whitbread-owned company, which is Britain’s largest coffee seller, was the subject of scrutiny in the Hugh’s War on Waste TV programme, which revealed that more than 5,000 coffee cups are now thrown away every minute in the UK, but less than 1% of those are actually being recycled

Shortly before the show aired, Costa’s energy and environment manager Ollie Rosevear  confirmed to edie that the retailer is to remove the recycling symbol from all of its paper cups and is now trialling in-store recycling systems at 50 of its UK stores, as it plans to "lead the industry" in the fight against coffee cup waste.

Luke Nicholls


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