In 2008, the seeds of Just Planet were sown when two inspired students, Lee and Norman Palumbo, attended a conference and witnessed an emotionally charged interpretive dance performance that shed light on the harsh reality of child slavery within the chocolate industry. Motivated by the powerful message conveyed through this artistic expression, they embarked on a mission to make a difference. Their initial endeavour involved selling Fairtrade coffee, chocolate, and jewellery to raise funds for their causes. However, as the sales flourished, they seized the opportunity to establish Just Planet as a Fairtrade gift store.
Initially, the landlord harboured reservations about transforming the space into a café, but the exceptional jewellery sales eventually swayed their opinion. With the installation of a coffee machine, Just Planet quickly gained a reputation for serving the best coffee in the region. The store gradually transitioned into a popular coffee spot that happened to offer a range of unique gifts. However, as time passed, the gift shop took a backseat while the café took centre stage.
In 2010, Just Planet made a significant stride by becoming Sunbury's first café to roast its coffee. This pivotal decision marked the transformation of Just Planet into a full-fledged roastery. As the café gained popularity, customers began approaching the team with requests for assistance in setting up their specialised spaces. It became apparent that there was a significant gap in the market, as many contractors lacked the understanding required to create successful coffee shop setups. This demand for expertise sparked a new direction for Just Planet.
Driven by their desire to effect meaningful change, Lee and Norman felt deeply troubled by the far-reaching consequences of the choices made within the industry. They realised that these choices did impact people on the other side of the planet. This realisation further fueled their passion for Fairtrade activism. Recognising the profound impact even small changes can have, Just Planet aimed to exemplify how one small step towards Fairtrade practices could make a world of difference.
As a certified Fairtrade company, Just Planet takes immense pride in upholding Fairtrade principles. Throughout the journey, some incredible milestones have left a lasting impact. Most notably, the honour of being featured on Channel 9's Postcards and the efforts recognised through multiple awards by the local Hume council.
Purpose and Vision
With Fairtrade at the forefront, a natural focus on sustainability emerged for Just Planet. The two concepts became intrinsically linked in their pursuit of creating a better world. Just Planet became members of the Fairtrade Association of Australia to solidify their commitment further, with one aspect particularly resonating with the team; how Fairtrade provided a more equitable platform for local suppliers compared to the dominance of larger corporations within Australia.
Through the convergence of their passion for Fairtrade, exceptional coffee, and commitment to sustainability, Just Planet transcended its humble beginnings and evolved into a thriving coffee roastery and a beacon of change within the industry. Lee and Norman embarked on a remarkable journey with a vision to create a space that fosters connection among people while driving positive change for Fairtrade cooperatives worldwide.
Visit Just Planet today and join the team in the revolution, where each cup of coffee becomes a catalyst for positive change—a step towards building a Just Planet, one sip at a time.
Just Planet's commitment to sustainability and the Fairtrade movement, which is aligned with the United Nations' sustainability goals, guides its business practices. Sustainability efforts include on-site composting of all coffee grounds to enrich the café's garden and the gardens of local community members and clients.
In addition, compostable bags and reusable buckets for wholesale clients eliminate single-use bags, and Australian-made keep cups are available as an alternative to disposable cups (along with edible and compostable cup and lid options).
Sustainability encompasses a holistic approach at Just Planet via a team dedicated to making a positive environmental impact.