Coffee. It fuels a nation of students, office workers, truck drivers and sleep-deprived parents.
Coffee beans are traded on the stock market in much the same way gold is. From Africa to South America, Europe to Asia, no matter where you go in the world, you will find coffee.
With people to the world over drinking coffee, have you ever stopped to consider the environmental impacts of your coffee addiction? From the water used to grow the coffee beans, to the land usage, transportation and production of the final grind, what does it take to get it to your mug?
Nespresso is one of the biggest names in the market. With great fame comes great responsibility. Nespresso has made some big commitments to being an Ethical and Environmentally conscious company. We’ve taken a look at some of them here.
Fair Trade is a certification that coffee producers and manufacturers can get if their methods hold up to certain standards. These standards include ensuring that the farmers receive a fair price for their Coffee beans. The coffee farmers are encouraged to use sustainable farming practices and are prohibited from using slave labor or child labor.
Nespresso has publicly announced that they aim to support independent farmers by collaborating the fair-trade program. This has been great for their public image and is a positive step towards encouraging healthy microeconomics in several typically low-income regions.
One of the biggest issues Nespresso has faced is the environmental impact of the one-use, disposable coffee pods used by their machines. As of 2012, Nespresso sold more than 27 Billion dollars’ worth of coffee capsules across 62 countries. That’s a lot of coffee and a lot of disposable pods. An initiative to become more Environmentally responsible has seen the introduction of a coffee pod recycling scheme.
Nespresso® Pods are collected by the company and recycled into new pods, Nespresso Machines, and other recycled products. Today Nespresso has over 14,000 dedicated Nespresso® Pods collection points around the world. If you don’t live within close proximity to a collection point you can take advantage of using one of 19,000 Australian Post boxes in Australia or one of 80,000 UPS points in the US.
Saving the Rainforest
In 2013 Nespresso rolled out its AAA Sustainable Quality Program which teams up with The Rain Forest Alliance. Part of the aim behind this alliance is to stop farmers from clearing land encroaching into rainforest areas. Another is to ensure that farmers that do the right thing receive fair compensation for their products.
The Nespresso Web site boasts that Nespresso has 100% Carbon efficient operations. Impressive, right? Well if that’s not enough to impress you, they also plan to reduce their carbon footprint by a further 10%. For a global company of this size, that really does make a difference. If only all the multinationals could get on board with their own environmental initiatives, in such a positive way.
The Positive Cup
Branded as ‘The Positive Cup’, Nespresso’s goals for 2020 are clear.
“The Positive Cup program incorporates ambitious goals in the areas of coffee sourcing and social welfare; aluminum sourcing, use and disposal and resilience to climate change.”-Nespresso
They aim to reach 100% Sustainably sourced coffee by 2020, through their AAA Sustainability Program. Part of this includes investing over $15 Million into Kenya, South Sudan, and Ethiopia over the next 6 years. This program aims to educate farmers in biodiversity, fair worker treatment, and water management.
Currently, Nespresso’s AAA Sustainable Quality Program, which was launched in 2003, has had over 70,000 farmers, across 12 countries join their program. This figure represents more than 80% of their total coffee supply.
So, the next time you order your coffee pods online, consider what you are purchasing. Are you buying your coffee from an ethical and environmentally conscious source? You may have an aromatic, indulgent brew at the push of a button, but what did it take to get to your kitchen?
And when you are finished that life-giving elixir on a dreary Monday morning, please consider the environment before you carelessly drop your empty pods into the trash. With literally thousands of convenient places where you can deposit your used pods to be recycled, you really have no excuse not to!