UBC Graduate Research

Birds and coffee, the perfect blend : Exploring the perspective of coffee shops on Bird Friendly certified coffee Craig, Julia; Justrabo, Charity; Ngo, Trisa; Stevens, Colton


Bird Friendly coffee (BFC) is organic, Fair-Trade, shade-grown coffee that comes from coffee plantations certified by the Smithsonian-developed seal, providing valuable habitat for migratory birds. BFC gives coffee buyers the opportunity to contribute to the protection of habitat through their purchase of sustainable coffee. However, at present there is little demand for BFC coffee from consumers, and an inadequate supply from coffee shops offering it for purchase. To increase the awareness of Bird Friendly coffee at the University of British Columbia (UBC), the Social Ecological Economic Development Studies Sustainability Program (SEEDS), in partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), has commissioned our group from the RES 510 course to help determine the main barriers to increased consumption of Bird Friendly coffee on UBC’s campus. As coffee shops are a bottleneck in the supply chain and determine which coffee is sold to consumers, our group sought to better understand the coffee supply and sourcing decisions made by coffee shops at UBC, as well as the coffee shop’s perceptions of their customer base. We contacted every coffee shop operating at UBC and conducted five semi-structured interviews with coffee shops representing the majority of coffee sold on campus. We analysed the interviews thematically using NVivo and manually selected some of the key quotes and sentiments expressed by the interviewees. From this analysis, we learned that all the coffee shops we interviewed carried a selection of certified coffee, but only one interviewee was familiar with BFC. While interviewees refrained from generalizing about their customers, they acknowledged that a portion of their market was interested in ethical coffee and would potentially purchase Bird Friendly certified blends. The conclusion of this report includes a series of recommendations for SEEDS based on our interview analysis. Most notable among them is the recommendation for SEEDS to establish relationships with coffee shops operating at UBC in order to raise awareness about BFC on the supply side of the market. As part of these partnerships, we recommend that SEEDS jointly develops marketing strategies with coffee shops to raise awareness of BFC among customers, to increase the demand to meet the supply. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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