Like cocoa, coffee is another of our key ingredients whose supply chain faces wide-ranging and complex challenges. Demand continues to rise globally. But with other crops competing with coffee for limited arable land, farmers face considerable challenges, including their profitability, managing human rights and the effects of climate change in coffee-growing regions across the world.
Increasing productivity while improving sustainability is essential. So we are working to continuously improve our green coffee supply chain and make every cup more sustainable.
We need to change the economics of coffee farming – to improve the prosperity of farmers and their communities; to sustainably manage coffee landscapes; to be compliant with our Responsible Sourcing Guidelines (RSG); and to attract the next generation of coffee farmers.
Both the Nescafé Plan and the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program work closely with partners such as the Rainforest Alliance to assess and measure the impact of our actions on farmers, communities and landscapes.
Our Farmer Connect programme buys closely from farmers in coffee-growing regions across Latin America, Africa and Asia / Oceania.
In 2017, along with Nespresso, we began implementing our Farmer Advanced Management System (FARMS) in our Farmer Connect value chains. This provides us with a system-based, transparent value chain.
We also increased our focus on labour rights, partnering with international non-governmental organisation Verité and local Mexican NGO CPS to assess labour rights violations in Mexico’s largest coffee producing states and follow up with corrective and remediation actions.
The Nescafé Plan
In 2010, we launched the Nescafé Plan, the world's largest coffee sustainability programme. It now has active farmer field programmes in 15 countries. The Plan aims to make the farming and production of coffee for Nescafé products more sustainable while improving the lives of farmers and the economic development of their communities.
Every year, we support around 100,000 coffee farmers and buy more than 800,000 metric tons of green coffee – more than 13 million bags – from more than 20 countries. Today, one out of seven cups of coffee drunk around the world is a Nescafé.
One of the focus areas of the Nescafé Plan is the traceability of our coffee. We want to know where our beans come from so we can assess the suppliers and farmers we source from and empower them to improve their practices, to become part of a more responsible – and sustainable – supply chain.
In early 2021, we published our Ten Years of the Nescafé Plan report (pdf, 4Mb). The report features voices from several value chain actors, including farmers and partners such as 4C Services, the Rainforest Alliance, and our own agronomists. It details the process behind our global Impact Assessment partnership with the Rainforest Alliance and the work we have been doing to implement monitoring and evaluation toolkits across farmer field programmes since 2014.
Currently, 94% of our green coffee used in the UK is responsibly sourced and verified or certified by independent organisations.
By 2025, we aim to have 100% responsibly sourced coffee globally, tracing it back to an identified farmer group.
We are working to reduce and remove carbon emissions where we source coffee and throughout our operations. We will also use environmentally friendly packaging. These concrete steps – and many others we are taking – will help us to reach our 2025 packaging commitment and 2050 net-zero ambition.
Our partner, Rainforest Alliance, evaluates the results of our farmer field programmes around the world to ensure they positively impact farmers’ lives. Rainforest Alliance regularly monitors farmers' adoption of good practices and the evolution of related indicators like productivity.
Nescafé Plan achievements since 2010
The rising global demand for coffee has increased the demand for the land used to grow it. In some cases, this has also increased the risk of:
- forest clearing and deforestation
- reduction in biodiversity
- harming habitats
- amplifying the effects of climate change.
That’s why for almost 20 years, Nespresso has promoted the adoption of sustainable farming practices through its coffee sourcing program, the Nespresso AAA™ Sustainable Quality Program.
The AAA Program was launched in 2003 in collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance. Through the program, Nespresso’s 415 agronomists work directly with more than 120,000 farmers across 320,000 hectares in 12 countries, empowering them to improve the productivity, quality and sustainability of their coffee farming. They provide support, training, financing, and technical assistance to embed sustainable practices on farms and the surrounding landscapes, improving the yield and quality of harvests. By building trust, loyalty and long-standing relationships with coffee producers Nespresso is making a positive difference to sustainable communities, including:
- promoting community milling
- innovating with retirement savings plans
- strengthening landscape resilience
- respecting nature and valuing natural capital.
In 2021, Nespresso published the results of The Positive Cup, the company's seven-year sustainability strategy (2014-2020) including a series of ambitious goals relating to coffee, climate and recycling aluminium, and an investment of CHF 585 million.
Nespresso has reduced the carbon footprint of its cup of coffee by 24%, compared to its 2009 baseline, through investment in the expansion of renewable energy use, introducing eco-design into products, sourcing low carbon materials and optimising logistics.
Other key milestones include:
- 93% of Nespresso permanent coffee is now sourced sustainably through its AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program, up from 84% in 2014, including 48% certified coffee up by nine points since 2014
- 2,000 coffee farmers in Colombia and 1,500 farmers in Indonesia have a pension saving scheme in place
- 4,700 coffee farmers in Colombia are enrolled in crop insurance, representing over 15,000 hectares now insured
- The introduction of market-first coffee capsules made using 80% recycled aluminium (requiring significantly less energy to produce than virgin aluminium)
- Providing 90% of Nespresso consumers worldwide access to a convenient used capsule recycling solution
- Planting 5.2 million trees alongside its valuable partners, including Pur Projet.
It is impossible for one organisation to tackle these matters single-handedly. We work with a wide range of external organisations to effect change. These organisations can also provide independent third-party evaluation of our work and our supply chain.