Coffee is one of the world’s most traded commodities and is a vital export crop for many countries. From Nescafé to Nespresso, the beans we source from farmers around the world go into some of our most iconic brands and bring joy to millions of consumers every day.
We source most of our coffee from smallholders, making them a key part of our global supply chain. The supply chain itself spans more than 20 countries, with each region presenting unique conditions and risks.
Demand for coffee continues to rise globally, but other crops are competing with coffee for limited arable land. This means farmers face considerable challenges, including profitability, human rights risks and the effects of climate change in coffee-growing regions across the world.
That is why Nestlé is working to continuously improve our green coffee supply chain and make every cup more sustainable.
Our progress toward more sustainable coffee production
Our approach to improving our coffee supply through the Nescafé and Nespresso programs
Over a decade ago, we launched a global coffee sustainability initiative called the Nescafé Plan. We have now defined our sustainability ambition for the next decade. Through the Nescafé Plan 2030, we are accelerating our action to support a more inclusive and sustainable future for the coffee sector, using our heritage, scale and reach to help uplift lives and livelihoods from farm to cup. Regenerative agriculture sits at the heart of the Plan. We will work with farmers to help them adopt regenerative agriculture practices that will contribute to reducing carbon emissions and support improving farms' productivity, with the aim of improving farmers' incomes.
We also support and implement various types of training for farmers that support their economic resilience and build a body of knowledge around best practices.
These cover topics like helping address local human rights issues, such as gender disparities. We engage in collective and pre-competitive actions via sector-wide initiatives such as the International Coffee Organization’s Public–Private Taskforce, the multi-stakeholder Global Coffee Platform and the Sustainable Coffee Challenge.
Additionally, for almost 20 years Nespresso has been helping farmers build sustainable livelihoods through the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program.
Launched in 2003, in collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance, the program ensures that Nespresso offers the highest quality coffee, while creating sustainable livelihoods for farmers and their communities and protecting the environment.
Planting native trees – Nespresso aims to plant 32 million trees in and around coffee farms in nine countries by 2030 – helps deliver many important benefits, such as reduced soil erosion, water provision and temperature regulation. That is why it is an important part of Nespresso’s strategy to help coffee growers adapt to climate change.
Learn more about Nespresso's sustainability efforts (pdf, 13Mb).
Ensuring transparency in our coffee supply
Nestlé has made the commitment for 100% of its coffee to be produced sustainably by 2025. We have a constant focus on the traceability of our coffee. Knowing where our beans come from is essential to assessing the suppliers and farmers we source from and empowering them to improve their practices to become part of a more sustainable supply chain.
Nespresso regularly publishes its Positive Cup Impact Assessment Report, which details the work Nespresso has been doing in Latin America to source coffee more sustainably and the impact of the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program for responsible sourcing.
Helping farmers grow better through education and high-yield plantlets
We believe people and nature need to work in harmony. Which is why we enlist the expertise of agronomists around the world, to support coffee farmers in achieving productive and sustainable harvests.
For more than a decade, we’ve supported farmer training on good agricultural practices for the farmers we work with. With the knowledge gained, they can improve efficiency and quality on their farms and diversify their crops. This helps reduce economic risk, improve biodiversity and reduce environmental footprints, for example through more efficient irrigation methods.
We also help rejuvenate coffee crops by distributing superior coffee plantlets to farmers. We're working closely with coffee farmers across the globe, in places like Brazil, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Vietnam. Since 2010, we’re proud to have distributed more than 270 million high-yielding and disease-resistant coffee plantlets to farmers, which has aided the rejuvenation of more than 130 000 hectares of coffee farms worldwide.
Developing new and superior coffee varieties is also a big part of our approach. To help increase productivity, resiliency, and quality, our research and breeding program has developed and released 15 new and high performing Arabica and Robusta coffee varieties in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, the Philippines, and Thailand. In Mexico, new coffee varieties are delivering 50% higher yields, resulting in around 30% reduction in carbon footprint.
Helping protect the environment
The rising demand for coffee globally, without using more efficiently the area presently dedicated to coffee growing, can drive an increase in the amount of land used to grow it. In some cases, this increases the risk of forest clearing, reducing regional biodiversity, harming habitats and amplifying the effects of climate change. Nestlé is collaborating with coffee farmers to help them increase efficiency, grow more and better coffee on less land and work with their communities to help reforest affected regions and help coffee drive a positive environmental impact.
We are helping farming communities implement regenerative agricultural practices across many countries, including the seven ones where we source 90% of our coffee – Brazil, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico and Vietnam. As part of the Nescafé Plan 2030, supported by Nestle’s investments in regenerative agriculture and net zero, we are investing CHF 1 billion until 2030 in an integrated strategy to transition farmers to regenerative and resilient coffee farming.
In some areas, we initiate programs to protect and enhance biodiversity around coffee-farming areas, such as schemes in three areas of Brazil where bee colonies have been introduced. This helps pollinate plants and increases yields while reducing the carbon footprint of our coffee and supporting local bee populations.
Nestlé is committed to keeping human rights abuses out of our coffee supply chain, including forced and child labor risks, and other labor rights violations. We work to promote and embed best practices to respect and empower the farmers and communities behind our beans.
Our coffee supply chain is a complex global network and, with suppliers in multiple countries, we must observe and comply with a diverse range of regulations and standards. We work continuously to ensure labor rights compliance across all our coffee origins, focusing on identified hotspots.
For example, in addition to the due diligence of verified or certified programs, we have intensive monitoring, engagement and remediation programs in Mexico and the Philippines – and continued them even during the COVID-19 pandemic – working with Certificadora de Productos Sostenibles in Mexico and with Maquindanaon Development Foundation Inc. (MDFI) in the Philippines.
Empowering women in East Africa
Many of the farmers we work with are women. We aim to help them gain better access to land, credit, and information.
We start by addressing gender biases. And we're committed to training our farming partners and agronomists to help advance the industry to be more diverse and equitable. We have reached more than 15 000 women in East Africa over the past eight years, sharing knowledge on good farming practices, financial literacy, and leadership. They learn better practices ranging from pruning and weeding, to mulching and harvesting, and how to commercialize their crops.
With their new skills, these women can improve their income. Greater financial independence not only empowers the women themselves, but it helps lead the way for girls and women in the future.
Enabling youth to build livelihoods in farming
As well as supporting established farmers, we're passionate about future generations. Nestlé has made a commitment to help 10 million young people worldwide to access economic opportunities by 2030. As part of that commitment, we established Nescafé Youth and launched a Coffee Quality Competence Center in collaboration with a supplier-partner and the local government in Honduras.
This initiative gives young people a place to learn more about coffee production, good agricultural practices and coffee quality. They also acquire digital skills, business acumen and self-confidence which could lead towards better job opportunities or the start of their own business. Through this initiative, we have committed to train up to 25 000 young people in Honduras by 2025 and we're expanding our youth trainings in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil.
All these actions will support us on our regenerative journey. By engaging with young people, we want to unlock their creativity and innovation. We're giving them the tools to help them build more sustainable coffee growing models, uplift coffee production and foster the next generation of leaders in coffee communities.
Addressing low coffee prices
Global market prices for coffee have risen sharply since 2020 to multi-year highs in response to adverse weather events in Brazil and other key causes. During 2021–2022, COVID-19 continued to have significant impact on coffee farmers and workers, as well as on their costs, logistics and transportation. Most coffee farmers have seen a welcome increase to their income levels; however, this only reinforces the Nescafé and Nespresso resolve to maintain and improve their programs and initiatives that support the medium-term resilience of coffee growers and workers.
In addition to our branded initiatives, Nescafé and Nespresso continue to support a number of collective actions such as the International Coffee Organization’s task force to develop better visibility and tools to address coffee farmer income levels towards a living income. Including a working group led by the non-profit organization Sustainable Food Lab, this is one of the ways we continue to be active within the industry to nurture partnerships that can drive positive change at scale.