This is either a massive PR push, or a generous act of philanthropy (maybe both), but Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has announced four grants worth $200,000 each to "support work on reducing climate change". Whether that is admirable or a waste of money probably depends on your point of view, but the way that they are doing it – using a kind of wikiproposal site to do it is interesting. The process for applying for a grant begins with submitting your idea on the justmeans.com site, sharing it with your network and then submitting a regular grant application. JustMeans is "where you can talk to companies about their social and environmental impact." We'll be following this to see how it works out – the winners will be announced on Earth Day in April.
If there is any irony in this, it's that one of GMCR's most successful recent products is a one-time-use, disposable coffee system that produces a little package of trash with every cup. It seems like they make up for it in other areas – maybe a kind of "landfill offset" the same way there are carbon offsets.
We buy Vermont Coffee Company coffee here in Rutland, but recently discovered you can order their coffee online, in 2.5-lb bags. And they have a bag recycling program. Look here for an example of how globalization can benefit communities here in Vermont and abroad.