Vancouver, BC (October 20, 2015) – Level Ground Trading, the pioneer Fair Trade company in Victoria BC, has long been a leader in social and environmental business practices. Today, with longtime brand design partner, Subplot Design Inc.,  they are further reducing their carbon footprint as they introduce a 100% compostable coffee package that doesn’t compromise freshness.


“Our business has been land-fill free since 2005 so . . . we’ve been championing thoughtful environmental practices for more than a decade.” says Hugo Ciro, president, Level Ground Trading.  “But it is in our DNA to continue to do better for our farmers, their families and for the planet. Our customers have been asking us for an environmentally friendly coffee package and we’ve spent years searching for a solution that doesn’t compromise the quality of our Level Ground coffee and meets certification standards. This has been a challenging and exciting undertaking. It’s a proud day for us and for our customers who also want to do the right thing.”


Since 2007, Level Ground has been upcycling all of their coffee packaging through a comprehensive upcycling program, as there were no viable packaging alternatives at the time that allowed the coffee to remain fresh while remaining recyclable.


“Upcycling has allowed us to take responsibility for our package post-use,” says Stacey Toews, co-founder, Level Ground Trading.  “Our retailers and our customers share our commitment – 44,000 empty coffee packages were returned to stores last year so we could pick them up and have them upcycled. We wanted to go a step further at Level Ground and offer our customers a coffee package that features more renewable resources and a better after life.”


“Level Ground are true ‘good guys’, and work so incredibly hard at every level to encourage fairness, sustainability and the highest ethics in everything they do”, says Roy White, Subplot Design Inc. founder and creative director. “The fact that they had not yet created the holy grail of compostable packaging really weighed on them – so they challenged Subplot to help them source and create this fully biodegradable package.”


With Subplot’s assistance, Level Ground is proud to launch new packaging for their entire coffee line that is shelf-stable, maintains the coffee’s premium freshness, and is 100% Compostable.


The new packaging material is certified compostable by BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) and is made in Canada from FSC Certified wood.  The material delivers the needed barriers for freshness and also decomposes in 180 days or less, and is printed and manufactured by Genpak in Ontario. The result is a brand new package holding 454 grams of coffee that minimizes impact on the planet.


“The new compostable packaging format gave us an opportunity to examine some other aspects of the packaging from 5 years ago”, adds White. “While just an evolution of the existing package, we were able to really make some significant improvements”.


The new packaging shape is more industry-standard, which alleviates some retailer’s concerns that the previous pouch-packs were too wide and unstable on the shelf, taking up too much room and often looking messy at retail. New packaging-forming and filling capabilities at Level Ground also allowed Subplot to remove the extra face-panel label and have information printed directly on the packaging, thus cleaning up the overall design. Finally, an audit of essential communications on the packaging allowed the design to be cleaner and simpler to aid in a quicker read.


“We are so thrilled with the result,” says Level Ground co-founder and CEO, Hugo Ciro. “We have built on the strong rebranding from 2010, and added clarity, impact and have finally solved our desire for some of the most responsible packaging on the shelf. We couldn’t be happier”.


The new coffee packaging is hitting the shelves this fall across Canada (and US) in IGA MarketplaceChoices Market, Thrifty Foods, Nesters Market, Buy-Low Foods as well as independent coffee shops, restaurants and grocery retailers.