Putting Tender, Love and CARE into The Grumpy Outpost


This week’s #LifeAtCOMMUNICATE talks about the team’s obsession with coffee, and how they’re going to use that java addiction for a bigger and better purpose.

COMMUNICATE’s Coffee Culture

A Brewing Dark Secret

Little did we know, our constant caffeine fix also required a lot of effort from coffee farms to keep consumers, like ourselves, satisfied. Meeting this kind of demand is no easy task for these coffee farmers. And worse still, it comes with environmental and human implications. For example, traditional growing techniques have been side-lined in order to grow varieties of coffee that can produce a higher yield. The world’s most popular coffee, Coffea arabica, can be naturally grown in the shades of lush green forests, providing a home for wild plants and animals, sustaining soil fertility, and keeping unique regional ecosystems alive.[2] Unfortunately, the rising demand has led to harmful alternatives such a deforestation and damaging biological diversity to make space for heavy chemically-treated coffee farms for sun-tolerant coffee beans to yield maximum production.

Climate change also plays a vital role in coffee production. According to Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks Coffee, good coffee will become increasingly difficult to grow and expensive to buy for the years to come, due to rising temperatures and intensifying droughts.[3] In fact, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) released a 2015 report warning that at least 50 percent of the land used to grow coffee will be unsuitable by 2050.[4] Not to mention the erratic weather patterns would also affect the livelihood of coffee farmers.

Introducing The CARE Project

“It’s COMMUNICATE’s mission to help counter the impacts of climate change. As a pro-sustainability brand consultancy, we are aware of this on-going challenge and we are determined to reduce our environmental and social impact in one way or another. But it’s not a simple issue and there’s no quick fix. We’re collectively working hard to get to where we want to be, and becoming a sustainable business is a long-term objective for us,” Alex remarks.

Through an internal practice of monitoring of our coffee consumption in the office, we became aware of the negative impact that we were contributing towards on the coffee community and the environment by choosing conventional coffee beans (just because they were cheaper). We needed to rethink our approach and culture in the office. It was time to put the spotlight on ourselves.

The good news? After endless rounds of brainstorm sessions within the team, COMMUNICATE is excited to announce our CARE Project, which stands for COMMUNICATE’s Active Responsibility for the Environment. It’s COMMUNICATE’s mission to help reduce our negative environmental and societal impact with our team’s heavy coffee intake, by adapting sustainable practices in our workplace, starting with The Grumpy Outpost.

Staying away from your conventional one-off ‘sustainable’-themed initiatives, we wanted to set ourselves apart by anchoring on a long-term commitment – ensuring transparency at all times in our efforts to champion the cause. We also needed to ensure that The CARE Project would be easily adapted into the team’s daily routine with minimal disruption.

Our Pledge from Beans to Brew

By making the simple adjustment of looking closely at how and where we are sourcing our coffee from, we can make a difference with every cuppa we drink.

Starting May 1*, we will be embracing sustainable habits at The Grumpy Outpost through the following efforts:

1. Tracking Coffee Consumption
To lessen the energy consumption of our coffee machine, without sacrificing our coffee fix, we’ll be implementing 1 Hot: 2 Cold Brew Ratio consumption for the team to follow.
2. Conserving Machine Usage
A simple gesture of turning off the coffee machine switch every night, will save energy and of course, money at the end of the month.
3. Sourcing Local Sustainable (Fair Trade) Coffee
We want to ensure that wherever our coffee is coming from, it will contribute to the livelihoods and incomes of local coffee farmers while benefitting the environment. Hence, we will keep in touch our local roaster supplier to make sure that he’s sourcing beans from farmers who are using sustainable growing practices.
4. Reusing Coffee Grounds 
Our heavy usage of coffee beans always leaves us with bags of coffee grounds. Rather than throwing into the waste bin and contributing to landfill waste, we’ll begin with measuring the volume of composed coffee grounds, but also be sharing how the team will be creatively using coffee grounds for other purposes.

Our goal is to reduce our electricity consumption by 10% every quarter and go fully fair-trade by end of 2021.

To keep ourselves accountable, we’ll be releasing a CARE Project update story every quarter on our progress with sustainability practices at The Grumpy Outpost. Our efforts also don’t end here, as we’ll be adding more initiatives in our CARE Project in the near future. As sustainability becomes a norm in our work culture, we hope that we will progressively make it part of our business framework and ecosystem in the years to come.

Setting an Example

We hope to set a benchmark for small agencies like ourselves, to do our part toward a global impact. We aspire to have a positive impact in the coffee community and the environment as a whole, all while enjoying heavenly coffee that we can’t live without. Now that’s good taste.

*Subject to change due on the MCO status

Through The CARE Project, COMMUNICATE hopes to help brands develop endless opportunities to adopt conscious values into their business framework. If you’re thinking of aligning CSR efforts into your business practice, let’s connect via Zoom or MS Teams or email us at [email protected]