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quality & farmers

Why does Nespresso have its own coffee sourcing program?

At Nespresso, we believe that quality and sustainability go hand in hand. We have therefore launched our own coffee sourcing program that is based on both sustainability – considering social, environmental and ecological aspects – and quality.

We have established long-term direct relationships with the 75,000 farmers participating in the program. With the program we know exactly where our coffees come from and can provide our customers the high quality coffees that they expect from us.

Which organizations does Nespresso work with?

Nespresso collaborates with many well-established NGOs. The AAA program, for example, was launched together with Rainforest Alliance, bringing together Nespresso’s coffee expertise and the NGO’s specialist knowledge for sustainable agriculture. Together with Fairtrade International (as well as the Columbian government and local coffee cooperatives) we have initiated the AAA Farmer Future Program to protect farmers from the risks in the coffee growing sector.

As a first step we have established a pension fund for farmers in Colombia in March 2014. In South Sudan we collaborate with TechnoServe to re-establish the coffee market that had suffered from three decades of civil war. In 2015, we exported the first coffee from South Sudan to Europe.

What are the sustainability criteria of the AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program?

The program is based on 39 sustainability criteria (13 related to quality, 16 to sustainability and 10 to productivity) defined by Rainforest Alliance and the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), consisting of:

Is Nespresso coffee certified by Fairtrade or other labels?

At Nespresso, we believe that quality and sustainability go hand in hand. We have therefore launched our own coffee sourcing program that is based on both sustainability – considering social, environmental and ecological aspects – and quality. We have established long-term direct relationships with the 75,000 farmers participating in the program. We therefore know exactly where our coffees come from and can provide our customers the high quality coffees that they expect from us.

Many positive aspects – such as farmer’s cooperatives, proximity to ultimate buyers and a fair price policy – are part of our program.

Nespresso also collaborates directly with Fairtrade International. In order to enhance the social security for coffee farmers we have initiated the AAA Farmer Future Program in close collaboration with Fairtrade International, the Colombian government and local coffee cooperatives. As a first step we have created a pension fund for farmers in Colombia in order to better protect them from the risks in the coffee growing sector.

Which advantages do AAA farmers benefit from?

Apart from receiving training on how to sustainably grow coffee, the farmers are paid premium prices, above market average and above that for coffees of similar quality.

The program also improves their social, economic and environmental conditions: an independent study by the Colombian research institute CRECE (Centro de Estudios Regionales Cafeteros y Empresariales) has shown that AAA farmers benefit from 22.6% better social conditions, 44% better environmental conditions and 41 % better economic conditions.

Aluminium and Recycling

Why does Nespresso use aluminium for its capsules?

No other capsule material that we have examined can protect the aromas of our coffees better from light, oxygen and humidity than aluminium. Furthermore, aluminium has a number of additional advantages: it eliminates the need for overwrapping, its lightweight allows for more sustainable logistics and it is infinitely recyclable.

Do Nespresso capsules cause large amounts of waste?

No. Used Nespresso capsules are a valuable resource which can easily be disposed of and recycled through the Yellow Bag, the Yellow Bin and recycling bins or at communal recycling centers in Germany. Aluminium is infinitely recyclable. Secondary or recycled aluminium is then used to manufacture various new products.

How much waste is caused by coffee capsules in Germany?

Used Nespresso capsules are a valuable resource which can be infinitely recycled and reused. Compared to the total amount of packaging, the amounts of used coffee capsules are extremely small.

According to Kurt Schüler, CEO of Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung, used coffee capsules accumulate to roughly 8,000 tons per year in Germany. This corresponds to 0.3 % of total packaging.

How well can aluminium packaging be recycled in Germany?

The recycling rate of aluminium packaging by private consumers has been rising continuously in the last decades. In 1991 5.1% of all aluminium packaging was recycled, 2014 the number had risen to 90.1%. In comparison: the recycling rate of plastic packaging was 57.7% in 2014.

How can Nespresso customers in Germany recycle used capsules?

Nespresso wants to make it as easy as possible for our consumers to recycle used capsules. This is why, since 1993, Nespresso has been a member of the dual system in Germany and has had its capsule licensed with Der Grüne Punkt voluntarily. Used capsules can therefore be disposed of through the Yellow Bag, the Yellow Bin, recycling bins or at communal recycling centers. It is important to note that the coffee grounds do not need to be removed from the capsules; they do not disrupt the recycling process.

In addition, consumers can return their used capsules at the collection points in every Nespresso boutique. Nespresso then takes care for the capsules to find their way into the dual system.

Which recycling options does Nespresso provide outside of Germany?

Nespresso has installed over 100,000 dedicated capsule collection points in 44 countries. Additionally, Nespresso has set up Recycling@home initiatives in 15 countries, where used capsules are picked up by the postman or a courier when a new capsule order is delivered.

Nespresso has also been able to work with established national packaging schemes in Germany, Sweden and Finland, where consumers can drop their used capsules off in the collective packaging recovery scheme.

What is the recycling rate of Nespresso capsules?

Since the actual recycling rate is highly dependent on consumer participation, any number would only be a rough estimation. The collection capacity of Nespresso capsules in Germany is 100 %. How many capsules are actually recycled depends on the willingness of consumers to make use of the existing recycling options. According to the Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung, the recycling rate for packaging containing aluminium was at 90.21 % in Germany in 2014..

Does the dual System in Germany even work at all?

Yes. The dual system substantially contributes towards protecting the climate and the natural environment in Germany. This is the result of a representative study regarding the ecological performance and potentials of the dual System in Deutschland presented by Öko-Institut and Der Grüne Punkt in Berlin in 2016.

The study shows that the dual system reduces atmospheric pollution year in, year out, by 3.1 million tons of CO² equivalents. Of this figure, 1.9 million tons alone are attributable to the recovery of lightweight packaging (Yellow Bin, Yellow Bag). The recovery of lightweight packaging has the best climate footprint of all municipal waste categories. Per ton, it contributes 19 times more to climate protection than the disposal of residual waste.

What happens with capsules that are disposed of via residual waste?

Capsules which are not being disposed of through the dual system but through residual waste make their way into thermal utilization and are eventually burnt. In this case, the valuable aluminium is lost. Even though it is possible to recover aluminium from the slag produced by waste incineration, the quality is significantly compromised when compared to the quality of aluminium recycled through the dual system. Furthermore, recovering aluminium from slag requires a much higher amount of energy.

Carbon Footprint

Are Nespresso machines energy efficient?

Nespresso continuously strives to optimize its machines for consumers and businesses. Thanks to innovative improvements we have been able to significantly reduce our carbon footprint: since 2009, all Nespresso consumer machine ranges have been equipped with an automatic power-off function or an automatic stand-by mode.

The PIXIE, U and Inissia automatically switch off after 9 minutes of inactivity, consuming 60% less energy than A-ranked machines according to FEA/CECED standards. Other machines, such as the Lattissima Pro and the Maestria consume 40 % less energy than A-ranked machines.

How does coffee produce carbon emissions?

For a holistic view of the ecobalance of a cup of coffee, a look at the entire value chain is necessary. The life cycle assessment of the ecobalance of a cup of coffee reveals that most emissions are generated in coffee cultivation and in the preparation of coffee. Packaging comes in third place. Nespresso works applies concrete measures to reduce the carbon footprint of every cup of coffee to a maximum.

According to a lifecycle analysis carried out in 2013, the carbon footprint of a cup of Nespresso coffee can be broken down as follows:

Machine use 47%
Coffee cultivation and production 19%
Packaging 18%
Operational CO²-emission (Scope 3¹) 8%
Waste management 5%
BOperational CO2-emission (Scope 1¹ und 2³) 5%

¹Indirect emissions
²Emissions of own plants
³Emissions from the purchase of energy

Is the environmental performance of portioned coffee per se worse than alternatively packaged coffee?

For a holistic view of the ecobalance of a cup of coffee, a look at the entire value chain is necessary. The life cycle assessment of the ecobalance of a cup of coffee reveals that most emissions are generated in coffee cultivation and in the preparation of coffee. Packaging comes in third place.

How does Nespresso measure it sustainability impact?

We work with a scientific approach called life cycle assessment (LCA) created by the leading environmental consultancy Quantis. This comprehensive method was developed according to the recognized international standards ISO 14040 and ISO 14044. LCA helps Nespresso assess the scope of its environmental impacts and develop strategies to optimize its environmental performance.

How does Nespresso engage in carbon efficient coffee production?

Our production and distribution centers are equipped with a wide range of functions targeted at improving our environmental performance. For example 230,000m3 of gas and 16-20 % of energy is saved every year in our state-of-the-art production centers.

Our production center in Romont is the first production site to be LEED certified in Switzerland (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

Does Nespresso use renewable energies?

Nespresso recognizes its responsibility towards the environment and is committed to managing energy responsibly. We strive to become more energy efficient in all our operations.

To do so we have implemented an energy management system according to DIN EN ISO 50001. All Nespresso locations in Germany are powered by renewable energies. This helps to reduce our annual carbon footprint by several hundred tons.