Dunkin Donuts coffee: still not eco-friendly

by JulieCraves on August 21, 2012

[There is a 2021 update incorporated into this post]

In 2009, I refuted the false statement made by Dunkin Donuts on Twitter that their coffee was shade-grown, and provided background on their coffee purchases. Let’s see if anything has changed.

According to their 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, Dunkin Donuts purchased nearly 50,000 metric tons of green coffee in 2010. The report states that DD purchased 11,745 tons of Fair Trade certified coffee in 2010; it primarily (only?) goes into their line of espresso drinks. This amounts to about 23% of their purchases, but as we have learned, FT certification has little in the way of substantial, quantifiable environmental standards. They are so generic that I don’t include FT certified coffee in my assessment of eco-certified purchases.

On their website, DD mentions that a good percentage of Fair Trade coffee is certified organic, but never say that any portion of the Fair Trade coffee they buy is organic. I hate this kind of deceptive fact-dropping.

The report provides another example of resume-padding. It explains that back in 2008, DD provided a $70,000 grant to Rainforest Alliance, which helped three producer groups gain RA certification. There is no mention that DD purchases this coffee or that they intend to, only that they “are exploring additional opportunities to work with the Rainforest Alliance.” Let’s put the Fair Trade purchases and Rainforest Alliance grant in perspective. Dunkin Donuts boasts that as of the end of 2010, their FT purchases have returned just under $1.9 million to producers, impacting 30,000 people — cumulatively, since 2004.

2017 – 2021

Dunkin Brands, like many other coffee and restaurant companies, has undergone management reshuffling and changes in ownership over the past decade. The most recent sustainability report was dated 2017-2018, and is no longer available on their website, perhaps because as of the end of 2020, Dunkin was acquired by Inspire Brands.

This report noted:

  • A goal of sourcing 100% Rainforest Alliance certified coffee for their (one single variety) Dark Roast by the end of 2018. This variety was introduced by Dunkin in 2014 as 30% Rainforest Alliance certified, and the report indicates that it was still only 30% certified. Given that Rainforest Alliances’s allowance for only 30% certified beans was highly criticized and appears to now not be permitted under RA’s new use-of-seal (and in fact, the seal no longer even uses the word “certified”), one wonders if Dunkin will bother sourcing any Rainforest Alliance associated coffee for this variety if they can’t promote it as such.
  • They announced a new goal of mapping their global coffee supply chain by the end of 2020. It’s never a good sign if a company doesn’t really know where their coffee comes from.
  • They noted having donated over $400,000 to Rainforest Alliance since 2010 (e.g., an average of $50,000 a year), and that they were now donating a percentage of the sales of each pound of Original Blend to World Coffee Research, and expected to donate $2 million to them through 2022 (e.g., an average of $400,000 a year). The WCR donation is the only goal the company commits to in their Sustainable Coffee Challenge profile.

Let’s put their financial contributions in perspective: their 2020 proxy statement shows that the 2019 salary of their CEO was $900,000 and his total compensation package was nearly $5.5 million! Total compensation of the top 6 executives for the year 2019 was over $13.2 million.

Nothing has changed, little effort has been made by Dunkin Donuts to source, sell, or meaningfully support sustainably-grown coffee. Furthermore, Inspire Brands is owned by the private equity firm Roark Capital, and therefore it’s likely we will not see much in the way of transparent metrics if we even see any sustainability reports in the future.

America, run from Dunkin.

Revised on March 8, 2021

Posted in Corporate coffee,Dunkin Donuts

Richard August 28, 2012 at 5:14 am

We still don’t have Dunkin Donuts here in the UK. It’s a shame to hear they’re still not eco-friendly though…

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