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Improving sustainability in coffee production

Taking a holistic approach
coffee farmer
Sustainably sourced means many things for coffee because, as with any agricultural commodity, there are many aspects to consider. 

Deforestation-free sourcing, forest restoration, regenerative agriculture, living income, human rights and child protection are complex areas that interact and are mutually reinforcing. They are not easy to achieve, so our strategies need to reflect the interconnectivity of these varying aspects of sustainability in coffee production.

Our agronomists work directly with farmers as part of the Nescafé Plan

If we want to continue to make progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we need to help improve farmers' livelihoods. One way we can do this is by supporting the introduction of sustainable farming practices that can mitigate the effects of climate change and regenerate soil and water systems, while increasing yields and boosting a farmer's income.

man shows coffee seedings

Nestlé agronomists dedicate an enormous amount of time to working with farmers to demonstrate these benefits. Through the Nescafé Plan, they introduce best practices such as mulching, pruning and efficient use of agricultural inputs. They provide ongoing technical assistance for implementation, working with farmers to renovate their farms with new and improved coffee varieties to reinforce resilience to pests, disease and climate change.

Seeking continuous improvement over time through regeneration

These are collaborations with farmers, who are under no obligation to follow our guidance. Therefore, it is critical to measure the positive impacts of our actions for the communities we work with, to assess whether an activity is appropriate for their needs and adapt if necessary. It is a process that can only go as fast as nature itself. Since newly planted coffee trees require time to bear fruit and harvests are only once a year, realizing benefits involves perseverance and long-term dedication to the farms we serve.

training women farmers

Our monitoring, evaluation and impact assessments are key to understanding many of the complex elements of regeneration. Importantly, we are evolving our approach to measure more than just yields, but also income and indicators of carbon impact. This builds on our ongoing monitoring of social conditions, including human rights and child labor risks.

The implementation of low-carbon and nature-based solutions, such as soil management techniques and integrated pest management, can benefit biodiversity, promote healthy soil systems, and potentially increase crop yields and productivity.

How sustainable coffee production can benefit everyone

A living income is not just any income. It can shape lives by providing a decent standard of living – one that brings in enough money to cover food, water, housing, education, healthcare, transport, clothing and other essential needs such as unexpected events, for all household members.

The win is for everyone. Farmers who can access markets for sustainable coffee can earn a premium and invest in their farming practices. The implementation of low-carbon and nature-based solutions, such as soil management techniques and integrated pest management, can benefit biodiversity, promote healthy soil systems, and potentially increase crop yields and productivity.

Nescafé cup on coffee beans

And at the other end of the value chain, consumers can make informed choices that reward high quality standards – both in supporting the regeneration of the environment and respecting the lives of farmers and their families.