How Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Gets Greener Profitably
Not long ago, consumers easily could equate the coffee from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to that sold at most gas stations and other “rust coffee”-like locales. Although plenty of gas stations still sell Green Mountain coffee, from an image standpoint those days are long gone. The manufacturer, distributor, cataloger and online marketer has taken extensive steps over the past few years to upgrade not only its coffee, but also its image.
Green Mountain broke through three years ago by acquiring the remaining 65 percent of single-cup coffeemaker manufacturer Keurig, which both created and killed a new category in one fell swoop for the now 11-year-old unique product. While cutting deals with other coffeemakers to provide single-serving K-Cups for the machines, Green Mountain struck licensing deals with the likes of McDonald’s and Newman’s Own.
It all added up to that rarest of rare stories in 2009: a Wall Street runaway success. This year alone, Green Mountain’s stock has jumped by more than 120 percent. The company has maximized its selling opportunities by supplying McDonald’s with its “premium” coffee. More recently, in April Green Mountain struck a deal to sell its Keurig coffeemakers and the little containers of coffee designed for them in more than 3,000 Wal-Mart stores.
Along the way, Green Mountain embarked on a growing list of sustainability projects. During a session at last week's Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Boston, Green Mountain’s vice president of environmental affairs, Paul Comey, shared several ways Green Mountain not only practices sustainability in a profitable way, but also how it publicizes its green practices to consumers.
As Comey pointed out, Green Mountain’s green activities are categorized as “environmental ROI.” “We’re committed to actions consistent with an environmental conscience in all aspects of our business operations,” he said. “We consider the environmental impact of our operations in every decision.”