Nespresso launches $550m sustainability strategy

Nespresso sustainability Nestle The Positive Cup

Nespresso has launched a sustainability strategy, ‘The Positive Cup,’ which sets out the steps the company will take to meet its sustainability goals by 2020, and is based on a CHF500m ($550m USD) investment over six years.

Nespresso currently sources around 84% of its coffee through its ‘AAA Sustainable Quality Program,’ an initiative launched in 2003 to protect the future of high quality coffee and the livelihoods of farmers.  

It is now pledging to source 100% of its permanent range of Grand Cru coffees through this programme.

The AAA program is based on the principles of increasing production of quality coffee, and integrating a range of ecological considerations and social standards. This can include helping farmers with best agricultural practices, technical support and training.

Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan

Diane Duperret, Corporate PR manager, Nestlé Nespresso, told one of the focuses for the program is now to add African farmers to the initiative. The program will be expanded into Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan, and investing CHF15m in these countries over six years.   

It’s definitely not easy, implementing such programmes require time and resources,” she said. “We’re going on the ground with farmers, and farmers join of their own free will – it’s not something we impose on them.

We need to build direct relationships with the farms and there are many of them – they’re smallholders. We currently have 60,000 farmers in the AAA program, so it’s a large number.

The program uses 296 criteria for sustainability which include economics (such as farm management and training), the environment (such as conservation and wildlife protection) and social considerations (health and safety and community relations).  

We need to reach out to a lot of farmers to secure the volume of coffee, which requires time to identify and work with them,” continued Duperret. “One key requirement for farmers is they already produce high quality coffee, we don’t buy coffee on the commodity market, we select coffee on the ground.

Goals for the strategy

The strategy is backed by the Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade International, the IUCN, and Nespresso brand ambassador George Clooney. The Positive Cup goals for 2020 include:

-          Sourcing 100% of the Nespresso permanent range of Grand Cru coffees through the AAA Sustainable Quality Program, by expanding the initiative into Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan, and investing CHF15m in these countries over six years.

-          Assisting farmers to achieve high certification standards in areas such as water management and fair treatment of workers.

-          Expand the capacity to collect used aluminium capsules to 100% wherever the company does business; and source all virgin aluminium capsule material compliant with the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative standard.

-          Further reduce by 10% the carbon footprint of the company; and become 100% carbon neutral with projects such as an agroforestry programme.  

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