Our commitment: Continuously improve our green coffee supply chain
We need to secure supplies of high-quality coffee, but ageing or diseased trees, declining yields, volatile prices and climate change threaten the livelihoods of smallholder famers and the sustainability of the sector. Our response is to provide farmers with new routes to market, disease-resistant plants and technical assistance through the Nescafé Plan and the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program.
How we source coffee
Our coffee is sourced through both trade channels and our Farmer Connect direct sourcing channels, as part of our Nescafé Plan and the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program. We source from coffee-growing regions across Latin America, Africa and Asia.
The Nescafé Plan combines on-the-ground support for farmers, compliance with the Responsible Sourcing Guideline and improving the environmental impact of our Nescafé factories, focusing on improving livelihoods of farmers and their communities, and assisting on the sustainable management of landscapes.
The Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program, developed in collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance, aims to protect the highest-quality coffees required for Nespresso Grands Crus, preserve the environment and enhance farmer welfare.
Coffee supply chain challenges and solutions
We need to secure supplies of high-quality coffee, but ageing or diseased trees, declining yields, volatile prices and climate change threaten the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and the sustainability of the sector. Increasing demand, restricted land availability and pressure from other crops add further challenges.
We provide a range of support measures to tackle these issues and improve farmers’ livelihoods, helping them to sustainably manage coffee landscapes and be compliant with our Responsible Sourcing Guideline. 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.
Aged and/or diseased coffee trees affect quality and productivity, and therefore farmers’ incomes. We make significant investments into researching plant science to develop stronger, disease-resistant, higher-yielding coffee trees. We distribute millions of selected new coffee trees each year to coffee farmers, enabling them to renovate their treestock and obtain better crops.
Good agricultural practices
As well as unproductive trees, the quantity and quality of crops can also be improved by good agricultural practices. We provide technical assistance and training on farm management, including specific techniques such as pruning and soil management. Where relevant, we also fund programmes to provide trees for essential shade to protect the coffee plants, especially from the effects of climate change.
The Nespresso AAA Program supporting Africa’s coffee farmers
In Ethiopia and Kenya, widespread deforestation has led to degraded landscapes that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. To help address this, Nespresso and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) have provided a joint investment of CHF 5.9 million (USD 6 million) to help 40 000 farmers. The scheme will help the farmers increase their resilience to climate change by planting trees on and around their farms. The farmers will also receive training in agricultural best practices to help them improve their productivity and the quality of their coffee harvests – enabling them to earn more money and improve their livelihoods.
Improving farmers’ livelihoods
A lack of nutrition and dietary diversity can be an issue for farmers and their families. In selected coffee origins we offer advice and guidance on nutrition and dietary diversity to boost the health and wellbeing of the farmers.
We particularly work with women farmers, to enable them to get better access to training and to develop additional income streams to boost their finances.
The Nescafé Plan in action: Jeanette’s story
Coffee farmer Bamba Nihigbe Jeanette is a widowed mother of three. She farms around three hectares, but before joining the Nescafé Plan in 2013 only managed to produce 500 kg of coffee a year. After receiving training in better agricultural practices through the Plan, and 375 new higher-yielding coffee plantlets, her production rose to 1300 kg in 2016, with potential to grow further. As a result, Jeanette has been able to ensure her children can attend school, and is building a new house to replace the tiny dwelling in which she and her children lived.
How we assess suppliers
Our supplier network is vast, and it is not possible for us to map our supply chain and assess all our suppliers by ourselves. We therefore work with Coffee Assurance Services (CAS) and the Rainforest Alliance, who help us deliver the Nescafé Plan and the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program. Their verification and certification systems encompass independent audits of suppliers to ensure compliance with their standards and our Responsible Sourcing Guideline, as well as identify issues to be addressed.
Our objectives towards 2020
By 2020: Nescafé to improve the quality, quantity and sustainability of its coffee supply chain by distributing 220 million coffee plantlets.
By 2020: Source 100% of the coffee for Nespresso’s permanent range through its AAA Sustainable Quality Program on coffee sourcing, and improve farmer social welfare.
By 2020: Nescafé to source 90 000 tonnes of coffee that is compliant with the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) principles*.
* During 2017, Nescafé will be reviewing this objective, including any related progress, to re-align it towards a reinforced emphasis on enabling positive impacts on coffee farmers, their communities and landscapes. This will support the focus of our efforts in relation to a clearly identified set of sustainability impacts for each of the coffee-growing regions.
Total number of coffee plantlets distributed through the Nescafé Plan
Number of coffee farmers receiving technical assistance and training through our Nescafé Plan*
* Excludes the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program.
Double-counting can occur but there is no double-counting in the 2015 or 2016 figures.
In 2016 the Nescafé Plan was active in 20 countries. We provided training to 113 446 farmers during the year, bringing the total since the Nescafé Plan was launched in 2010 to 504 484. Our 364 Farmer Connect staff also visited coffee farms throughout the year, providing training, distributing plantlets and providing technical assistance to help farmers implement good practices aligned with the Nescafé Better Farming Practices. We distributed 28.3 million coffee plantlets in the year, bringing our cumulative total to date to 129.0 million.
We purchased 204 163 tonnes of Farmer Connect coffee in 2016 from 191 372 farmers, of which 180 148 tonnes were responsibly sourced (4C verified). In total, we sourced 480 000 tonnes of Responsibly Sourced (mostly 4C-verified but also other voluntary sustainability standards) in 2016, representing 55% of our entire green coffee volume.
The Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program has grown from 6225 farmers in 2007 to more than 71 000 farmers in 12 countries in 2016. By the end of the year, 74% of Nespresso coffee was being sourced through the Program. Nespresso sources a very specific coffee quality through the AAA Program, buying from the same farmers every year. However, enduring droughts in Brazil and Colombia (including a transport strike in the latter) has resulted in insufficient availability of AAA coffee. Consequently, Nespresso was obliged to buy non-AAA coffee in 2016, but with exactly the same specifications.
We worked closely with the Colombian National Coffee Federation in 2016 to rejuvenate coffee production in areas of Colombia severely affected by decades of conflict. We have also maintained similar support in South Sudan.
The Nescafé Plan is shifting the focus of activities from inputs – such as the number of plants provided or farmers trained – towards outcomes and impacts, and assessing the improvements facilitated by our actions. Working with the Rainforest Alliance, we are developing an impact assessment toolbox, which we will begin to roll out in 2017. This will enable us to systematically measure and demonstrate the impact of our actions on farmer livelihood, rural communities and broader landscapes.
Through our agroforestry initiative, which covers all countries within the AAA Program, we have identified more than 100 benefits to planting trees within and around coffee crops. These include reducing the impact of climate change, enriching the soil and providing an additional income source. While farmers select and plant the trees, using only native fruit trees, Nespresso provides technical assistance and funding, and we aim to see 10 million trees planted by 2020. We are also exploring opportunities to develop coffee growing in Cuba following the easing of political and economic restrictions on the country.