Kōkako Kicks the Conventions of Packaging | Procurement Monday

It’s officially Procurement Monday, which marks the beginning of New Zealand's National Recycling Week. Are you taking part?

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Today’s mission is to push consumers to make more considered decisions when it comes to their waste, by purchasing items they know are recyclable. It's essential for us to take accountability for what we’re procuring.

So, how can we do that? What companies can we trust to serve us both sustainable products in recyclable packaging? We spoke to change-makers, whose values are closely aligned with our own about what they’re doing to look after our planet.

First up is Kōkako a Kiwi coffee business with a difference. All of their products can be found in durable, recyclable or compostable packaging, and they source their coffee from Fairtrade organic coffee cooperatives in Papua New Guinea, Sumatra, Honduras, Colombia, Uganda, Ethiopia and Guatemala, with more origins and offerings being evaluated on a weekly basis.

Company director Mike Murphy had this to say:

Why don’t you tell us about Kōkako and what it is that you do? How did the idea come into being?

We were first established in 2001, and we’ve been going for 16 years as Auckland’s first organic coffee roastery. I purchased the business in May 2007 and my focus since then has been on growing a really strong speciality coffee business which has environmental and ethical values. We have focused on supplying high-quality speciality coffee for the hospitality sector. We’re not in lots of supermarkets, but rather we tend towards more high-end cafes.

We focus a lot on quality and innovation. One of the parts of the business that’s important to us is Kaizen, which translates as ‘continuous improvement’ in Japanese. What that means is we’re never complacent. We’re always looking to innovate with our coffee and our packaging and the rest of our merchandise as well.
 

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"One of the parts of the business that’s important to us is Kaizen, which translates as ‘continuous improvement’ in Japanese."

Why should people choose to drink your coffee, or do business with you?

If you’re a hospitality business then we go above and beyond a typical coffee/ supplier relationship. We take a really considered, comprehensive approach to doing business. We look at the relationship like a partnership; we look at social media, marketing, design, operational flow - all of the things that make a business work. For consumers, we’re a trusted brand so they can rely on our third-party certifications (we’ve been certified organic by Biogro, and certified Fairtrade) - we’ve got independent auditors to verify that and that’s an important consideration. A lot of our customers are interested in recycling and composting our packaging.

What does success look like for you when it comes to sustainability and the future?

We want to be and continue to be a trailblazer in sustainability. In 2016 we released our inaugural sustainability report, with which we wanted to show that it's not about the size of your business, but it's about what you can do. We’re not a follower; we want to be a leader.

How does design play into Kōkako?

Design is in an integral part of our DNA and aesthetic. We’re always thinking about the user experience of our brand. The kōkako is a native New Zealand bird, we’ve taken references from the bird and used them as our core brand values.

What’s the best way for people to champion Kōkako?

You can go on our website and find our outposts - that’s who stocks our coffee. If you’re in New Zealand, you can set up a coffee subscription ordering directly from our roastery, or you can follow up on any of our social media accounts: we’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We also have our blog the Kōkako Chronicle, which shows our commitment to provenance and the stories of our coffee farmers.

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What’s one recycling tip or trick you have for us?

From a business perspective, it’s about making sure you have a good system set up so it's easy for your staff to know what products they can recycle. We recycle soft plastics, glass, and we have different receptacles for each. We also have dedicated compostable pick-ups as well, so it’s important to have that designation. If you make it easier for your staff, it makes it easier for them to get involved.

"If you make [recycling] easier for your staff, it makes it easier for them to get involved."

 

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Method's beautiful recycling bins can help you sort your waste at the source