Writing our values last year, when Metronome Coffee House was at the embryonic stage, seemed straightforward. Like many socially aware enterprises, we wanted to keep sustainability at the fore, and also to make our area a better place. These two were fixed, but no matter how many other values and drivers came and went, there was one huge one that always went unwritten. One that we all know, but don’t necessarily write down as a value. But this new entrant, fighting its way to the top was about to push every other value down a position or two… or three. I think you may have guessed it.
Suddenly safety wasn’t just the obligatory Health and Safety in the workplace stuff; nor the hygiene certificates or courses. Suddenly it became at the forefront to keep people safe from an invisible killer. Enter Covid-19.
As a hospitality outlet, we’re meeting the public face-to-face – and therefore needing to put in place the most stringent safety measures; most of which remove something of being human, or something of being kind to the planet. More barriers to entry; more screens masks, sanitizers and visors; more packaging; a ban on reusable or drink in cups, plates or bowls; more paper cloths (that don’t recycle); more cleaning products… the list goes on.
So the fight to keep sustainability high on the agenda has been particularly hard, but here are five things we’re doing to look after the planet even during the pandemic:
- We’ve continued paying a premium for fully recyclable paper cups and paper lids and only selling drinks in glass bottles – maintaining near zero plastic waste.
- We’ve maintained our contract with First Mile (who collect waste, but only if separated finely into very specific categories – time consuming, but worth it).
- Our cleaning products are all fully compatible with nature, and still keep us and our customers safe.
- We’ve kept to our local suppliers, and where we can, switched to making food in-house to further reduce our carbon footprint using only accredited or sourceable ingredients
- Our Old Spike coffee continues to plough 65% of its profits into bringing people out of homelessness in South London.
Yes, we’ll keep safety at the front, and make sure we adhere to, or exceed all government guidelines, but no, we won’t let sustainability slip off the radar. We’ll continue to ensure our whole supply chain is paid a fair price right to the growers; and we’ll continue to be creative in how we respond to everything the virus throws at us.
And looking after the mental health of our community? We’ve created 5 local walks, all starting at Metronome that open up some of the forgotten green spaces. Each green space going through their seasons, helping to bring clarity to our thoughts and situations, despite whatever’s going on in our crazy world.
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