Costa fires up ultra-sustainable coffee roastery

Costa coffee has today (13 March) turned on the lights at its new £38m roastery, a facility which the company claims is "one of the most sustainable industrial buildings in the world".

Paradise Street is now Europe’s biggest coffee roastery, covering 85,690 sq ft at its site in Basildon, Essex. The roastery has more than quadrupled Costa’s roasting capacity to 45,000 tonnes per annum and will facilitate coffee production for 2.1bn cups of coffee each year.

The roastery has an expected operational life expectancy of 20 to 30 years. Operations are available on-site to ensure that zero waste is sent to landfill and renewable energy systems, including a 249kw solar roof system, will combine with rainwater harvesting to lower the building’s carbon footprint.

Costa’s managing director Dominic Paul said: “Costa is growing rapidly as a global business and our new roastery will provide the platform for sustained international expansion as we continue inspiring the world to love great coffee. Turning on our new roasting capacity is a landmark for the business. It’s a statement of our ambition to grow and our passion for great coffee.”

“Roasting here in Basildon keeps the UK at the centre of our growing global brand and enables us to build on everything we have learned from more than four decades of roasting in Lambeth. Today is about quality, capacity, investing in the future and being true to our heritage – it’s about embracing our traditions whilst continuing to innovate and drive global growth.”

The building was already operating to BREEAM Outstanding levels – a leading sustainability assessment method for buildings and communities – during its assessment phase, and could receive final stage certification at some point in the future.

Construction on the facility started in 2015, with the concepts of solar thermal technology and full LED lighting explored at the time. A spokesperson confirmed that solar energy will be used to heat the recycled and harvested water and that the facility has been fitted with LED lighting. The building and the internal roasting equipment also draw on a wide array of sustainability initiatives utilised in Costa’s innovative Eco Pod coffee shop.

Coffee beans used in the facility will be sourced from Rainforest Alliance certified growers and farmers and will be shipped to Tilbury Docks, located 14 miles from the roastery. This is half the distance compared to the old Lambeth roastery, generating less road miles and emissions as a result.

Alongside an increase in storage allowance – up from six tonnes at Lambeth to 24 tonnes at Paradise Street – revamped in-house processes will increase productivity by 25% compared to the old roastery. A new academy has also been launched alongside the roastery to train 3,000 baristas per year.

Energy in a coffee cup

Costa has strived to improve the energy efficiency standards of its operating facilities. As well as being awarded the ISO 14001 International Standard for Environmental Management Systems for its self-serve ‘Express’ outlets, the company has also partnered with biomass recycling firm Bio-bean, to convert 3,000 tonnes of Costa’s waste coffee grounds into biofuel.

Costa Coffee’s energy & environment manager Oliver Rosevear was recently part of a cross-sector panel of energy managers and experts who gave their views on ‘cutting the complexities’ of energy management in an edie webinar

Rosevear said that behaviour change on energy use can prove particularly challenging, but that it could be combated by frequently re-energised lines of communication which encourage employees to become “part of the solution”.

Matt Mace

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