I don’t know about you, but I find reassurance in knowing there’s a strong base of café consumers who will make a point of selecting cafés that demonstrate environmentally and socially responsible practices. And last week, one such venture that supports these thoughtful cafés had its official Auckland launch. Called Conscious Consumers, the project is a not-for-profit initiative that has been successfully operating in Wellington for the past year.
The introduction of the scheme into Auckland had a long list of support, with with 18 cafes in central city suburbs signing up to be part of the project. Even Auckland Council got behind the launch.
So how exactly does it work? Conscious Consumers awards cafes with Scout-inspired badges to recognise a cafe’s commitment to sustainable business practices. There are nine badges in total, which are displayed in the cafe’s front window to communicate to customers the range of practices employed—such as using certified fairtrade coffee, free-range eggs, composting foodscraps or using seasonal produce. Cafes are profiled on the Conscious Consumers website where suppliers of relevant sustainable goods or services are also listed (see it here: www.consciousconsumers.org.nz).
According to Ben Gleisner, national coordinator for the project, Conscious Consumers empowers customers to make informed purchasing choices and incentivises cafes to commit to waste minimisation and other business practices with positive outcomes.
“Ultimately it’s about enabling a connection between conscious consumers and like-minded cafes in the community. As we’ve already shown in Wellington it successfully demonstrates how ethical choices can be good for business,” he says.
The project certainly seems to be gaining traction and recently won a 2011 Ministry for the Environment Green Ribbon Award.
Come August, there are plans to expand the project into the Waikato region.
The first group of 'conscious' cafes in Auckland include:
· Roasted Addiqtion in Kingsland
· Little Hero in Point Chevalier
· Milk Cafe and Kokako in Parnell
· Cosset in Mt Albert
· Altezano Espresso Bars in Newmarket, CBD and Eden Terrance
· The Library Cafe and Cafe Tran in Onehunga
· Federal & Wolfe and Remedy Coffee in Auckland’s CBD
· Zest Cafe in Newton
· Queenies Lunchroom in Freemans Bay
· Ripe Deli and Monterey Coffee Lounge in Grey Lynn
· Bloom Cafe and Function Rooms at Eden Garden, Epsom
· Garnet Station in Westmere