White Whale's Sustainability Journey

By James Campos

White Whale Coffee Roasters is excited to announce that we are a finalist in two categories of the 2022 Cairns’ Business Excellence Awards, having received nominations for both the Sustainability and Environmental Excellence award, and the Community Contribution Excellence award.


We couldn’t be more stoked - these nominations signal that our business is making significant strides across the board to live our mission – coffee that does good. This slogan has served as a yardstick for White Whale’s growth and development since our 2019 rebranding. Beyond our support of the Reef Restoration Foundation, we have continued to seek out ways to reduce the environmental impact and improve the community outcomes of your daily (or thrice daily) cup of joe.


Since 2019, White Whale has been steadfast in our commitment to reducing waste and energy intensity across our day-to-day operations. In an effort to improve and monitor our progress, we signed up for the CCIQ ecoBiz program in 2019 and were assigned an ecoBiz Sustainability Coach.

The recently published 2021/22 sustainability performance review saw White Whale earn an ecoBiz 2-star Partnership Status. To become a Star Partner, an organisation must show a 10% decrease in their resource intensity across three key categories: waste, water, or energy. Data from White Whale’s 2021/22 ecoBiz Partnership Report shows that we have well and truly blown these minimum requirements out of the water, now boasting a 67% reduction in energy intensity and a 30% reduction in waste intensity, when compared to baseline data taken from 2019/20.  

All technical speak and data aside, these reductions have come as a result of actions big and small; from the installation of solar panels, to the use of 100% compostable takeaway cups and the distribution of coffee to local wholesalers using food-safe drums, all the way down to re-using boxes kindly donated by our friends at Tropic Now – it all stacks up. A steady trawl of community members now swing by the roastery to collect spent coffee grounds and coffee chaff (the husk of the bean that falls off during the roasting process) for all their gardening and composting needs, or to snatch up the hessian coffee bags to be repurposed in creative ways. You’ll even find 100% recycled toilet paper in our bog – that’s guilt-free wiping!

These are just some of the steps White Whale has taken in becoming a more sustainable and environmentally conscious business, and as always, we recognise that we still have a long way to go. We remain adamant that coffee can be a vehicle for the type of change we wish to see in the world and hope to enact some grand plans in the future as we continue to grow in size and scope. Watch this space.