7000 Coffee Trees in 2052

Design Brief

Environmental issues are a matter of heated debate in the contemporary world. Climate change is having a huge impact on the coffee industry. On 20 July 2021, the temperature in Minas Gerais, Brazil abruptly plummeted to -1.2ºC. This has significantly impacted coffee trees that depend on a specific growth environment, resulting in significant frost burn and the loss of coffee trees for coffee farmers. Many small-scale coffee farmers have even lost their entire crop (Grant 2021). 

The modern coffee industry’s consumption is mainly built on the capitalist system. From coffee growers; to green bean suppliers; to coffee roasters and cafe owners, everyone is focused on maximising profits, with the philosophical idea of anthropocentrism as the goal of economic growth. Coffee farming, dry milling and sorting of green coffee, packaging of green coffee for export, transportation from coffee farm to harbour to the warehouse to roastery energy combustion for roasting grinding, and packaging, brewing water for making coffee, and coffee waste all have a sizable carbon footprint. One cup of batch-brew coffee has a carbon footprint of 0.209kg (Wendel 2021), which can be offset by planting 0.008 trees. However, due to the increasing frequency of extreme weather events and surmising that the previous development model for economic growth continues, coffee trees are projected to become extinct by 2052. Coffee has become a luxury good, available only to a handful of wealthy people, while the rest can only sip cultured coffee (Lab-grown coffee).

The 7000 Coffee Trees is a social design project designed for the year 2052 based on the philosophical concept of ecocentrism. As Frank Jackson (1993) reviews in “Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change” by Victor Papanek that many features of modern consumerism must be dismissed in order for the fixed solution to succeed. This project analyses consumption patterns and environmental issues from a moral standpoint and formulates a social design system where people develop natural resources and contribute back to the environment. Pioneered by the coffee industry, the user must plant a tree and maintain continual watering in exchange for a daily cup of coffee. The project aims to engage 7,000 users annually in each city. The 7000 Coffee Trees project is expected to plant 70,000, 140,000, and eventually 210,000 trees in each city by 2032, 2042, and 2052 respectively. Anthropocentric consumerism has resulted in the overexploitation of natural resources and climate change in the Anthropocene era. In order to mitigate the impact of climate change on the environment, this social design places coffee consumption at the forefront, changes current consumer behaviour, and promotes sustainable coexistence with the environment.

Rhetoric Framework

1. Formal analysis: This project describes how to address the impact of climate change on the coffee industry through social design - a new trade practice, by using data from the most recent climate change on frost damage in coffee-producing regions

2. Effect analysis: There are a total of 13,810cities worldwide. This project is scheduled to begin in the Australian city of Perth. The annual goal for each city is 7,000 trees. In the future, if every city agrees to participate in this project, it will result in a considerable number of trees being planted, which will help alleviate the issue of climate change.

3. Elaboration of the design rules: By planting trees and feeding back to the natural environment, the consumption of coffee generates new consumption behaviour and environmental symbiosis. It also introduces the philosophical thought of ecocentrism.  

4. Reconstruction or determination of the intended effects through an interview with the responsible designer.

5. Identification of contra-intentional factors: The same design can have different possibilities for interaction in front of different people and contexts. Therefore, special attention must be paid to the accessibility of such plans. As Winner (1980) mentioned in “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” even if the design has no intention and cannot be responsible, the design still affects people’s choices and social appearance at various levels.

6. Using the concept of decorum and determining a possible range of activities during the design process. 

Figure 1. Annina Schneller, Relevant (or disputed) effects of public-transport information design artifacts relative to their level of impact (logos, ethos, pathos), 2015, image, reproduced from Annina Schneller’s article. 

Figure 2. Annina Schneller, Example for design rules operative in commercial graphics, specifying the formal and stylistic means that can be used for creating elegant designs, 2015, image, reproduced from Annina Schneller’s article. 


1. How should trees be planted to preserve biological diversity and maximise the benefits of planting trees? 

2. How can this enterprise continue to deliver coffee to users in a sustainable manner in the absence of substantial earnings?

3. How to devise an alternative mechanism for users to cooperate with this plan, given that the planting of trees cannot be done under physiological settings?


1. In order to maximise the benefits, augmented reality (AR) technology is used to analyse the overall environment and select tree species suited to the local environment to preserve biological diversity. 

2. This project will cooperate with local enterprises, through such cooperation methods as B4SI (Business for Societal Impact), CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), and ESG (Environmental Social and Governance). Enterprises can achieve  United Nations’s sustainable development goals such as sustainable consumption and production, climate action and biodiversity, forests, and desertification (United Nations 2022). Furthermore, businesses can make benefit but also solve environmental problems.

Figure 3. Indorama Ventures, Sustainability, Social, and CSR Framework, image, 2022, reproduced from Indorama Ventures website.

3. This plan can be executed with the aid of AI robots for users whose physiological conditions prevent them from carrying out this plan themselves. 


Due to human exploitation of resources and ensuing pollution, the earth’s ecology is confronting environmental issues such as climate change and global warming, thereby gradually turning the planet unsuitable for human habitation. Capitalism-driven globalisation, industrialisation, and the development of the environment emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases. Anthropocentrism has given rise to consumerism, prompting human beings to shape consumer behaviour for the purpose of economic development. However, this behavioural pattern is to blame for accelerating the deterioration of environmental conditions. Rethinking human behaviour and adopting the philosophy of ecocentrism to design new consumption behaviours are the strategies to address environmental challenges. As Moran, Harringon, and Sheehan (2018) point out, everywhere, the basis for a differentiated future design should acknowledge personal worldviews and those of others. Thus, other’s worldviews can be derived from other creatures, just like the concept of ecocentrism. This is evidenced by the huge damage to coffee trees caused by the severe frost in Brazil in 2021. The 7000 Coffee Trees project examines consumer behaviour through the lens of social design, shifting coffee purchases from those motivated by personal interests to those driven by environmental interests. This means that those who benefit from the cradle to the grave are coffee shop owners, roasters, green coffee suppliers, coffee growers, and coffee farmers who traditionally buy coffee. The 7000 Coffee Trees social design is committed to changing the consumer experience by encouraging purchasers and users of coffee to also plant trees to achieve carbon neutrality. This new type of coffee consumption behaviour aims to encourage users who buy coffee to also consciously give back to the environment and play a critical role in creating a greener and more sustainable world. With the aim of gradually mitigating environmental problems over the next 30 years, these actions will benefit the environment. 

List of Figures

Figure 1. Annina Schneller, Relevant (or disputed) effects of public-transport information design artifacts relative to their level of impact (logos, ethos, pathos), 2015, image, reproduced from Annina Schneller’s article. 

Figure 2. Annina Schneller, Example for design rules operative in commercial graphics, specifying the formal and stylistic means that can be used for creating elegant designs, 2015, image, reproduced from Annina Schneller’s article. 

Figure 3. Indorama Ventures, Sustainability, Social, and CSR Framework. 2022. Image. Reproduced from Indorama Ventures’s website. https://www.indoramaventures.com/en/sustainability/social/csr/csr-framework#:~:text=Corporate%20Social%20Responsibility%20%2D%20or%20CSR,social%2C%20environmental%2C%20or%20economic.

Reference List

Grant, Tasmin. 2021. “Why Is Frost In Brazil Causing Global Coffee Prices To Increase?”. Perfect Daily Grind. https://perfectdailygrind.com/2021/07/why-is-frost-in-brazil-causing-global-coffee-prices-to-increase/.

Jackson, Frank. Journal of Design History 6, no. 4 (1993): 307–10. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1316095.

Moran, Uncle Charles, Uncle Greg Harrington, and Norm Sheehan. 2018. “On Country Learning.” Design and culture 10 (1): 71-79. https://doi.org/10.1080/17547075.2018.1430996.

Schneller, Annina. 2015. “Design Rhetoric: Studying the Effects of Designed Objects.” Nature and culture 10 (3): 333-356. https://doi.org/10.3167/nc.2015.100305.

United Nations, “Forests, Desertification And Biodiversity - United Nations Sustainable Development”. 2022. United Nations Sustainable Development. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/biodiversity/.

Winner, Langdon. 1980. “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” Daedalus 109 (1): 121-136.

Wendel, Tina. 2021. “What Is The Carbon Footprint Of Your Cup Of Coffee?”. 23Degrees.Com.Au. https://www.23degrees.com.au/blog/carbon-footprint-coffee-supply-chain/#:~:text=The%20study%20estimated%20that%20one,from%20the%20coffee%20seedling%20stage.


Creswell, John W. author. 2018. Research Design : Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches / John W. Creswell, J. David Creswell. Fifth edition.. ed. Thousand Oaks, California : SAGE Publications, Inc.

Ely, Philip. 2020. “Designing Futures for an Age of Differentialism.” Design and culture 12 (3): 265-288. https://doi.org/10.1080/17547075.2020.1810907.

“Framework - B4SI”. 2022. B4SI. https://b4si.net/framework/.

ESG (Environmental, Social And Governance)”. 2022. Corporate Finance Institute. https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/other/esg-environmental-social-governance/.

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