LONDON, July 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Marking the one-year anniversary of The Positive Cup, Nespresso's 2020 sustainability strategy, Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nestle Nespresso, announced that significant progress had been made towards improving the lives of thousands of coffee farmers in countries ranging from South Sudan to Colombia, as part of the company's AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program.
Mr Duvoisin commented: "Through our sustainability investments, the first steps have been taken to rebuild the coffee industry in South Sudan, and we are helping to initiate a better future for farmers in Colombia through a retirement savings plan. These are small steps given the scale of the challenges, but I am proud that we can do our part to help farmers, while securing the future supply of the highest quality coffees for our business and our Club Members."
Over the past two years Nespresso has been working with its partner TechnoServe to help re-build the coffee sector in South Sudan, resulting in the country's first-ever coffee exports in 2013, and its first non-oil export to Europe. Nespresso aims to produce a new rare coffee from South Sudan, while providing alternative sources of sustainable income to local farmers.
"TechnoServe is proud to partner with Nespresso to help improve the livelihoods of thousands of South Sudan's enterprising farmers," said William Warshauer, President and CEO of TechnoServe. "As a nonprofit focused on business solutions to poverty, we believe that these kinds of investments hold great promise for long-term development impact."
"I have seen that there is great change within the community. We want to produce the right quality. People now have hope. We will be able to pay school fees for children and in the end develop the country," said Joseph Malish Thomas, a South Sudanese farmer taking part in the Nespresso AAA Program.
Nespresso aims to source 100 per cent of its coffee from its AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program by 2020. This depends heavily on the extension of the program into Kenya and Ethiopia, to support a more skilled, self-sufficient and sustainable farming community. In the last 12 months Nespresso and TechnoServe have provided training and technical assistance to over 10'000 farmers, and will reach 50,000 farmers by 2020.
In addition to the expansion of the AAA Program in Africa, Nespresso has also made progress to implement innovative welfare solutions to ensure that coffee farming remains attractive to younger generations. Nespresso launched last year a pilot retirement savings plan, together with the Colombian Ministry of Labour, Fairtrade International and local coffee cooperatives, for farmers taking part in its AAA Program in Caldas, Colombia. Already 850 AAA Fairtrade certified farmers entered the retirement savings plan, set up within the framework of the Colombian Beneficios Económicos Periódicos (BEPS) scheme. The first savings were transferred into farmers' dedicated bank accounts in May 2015.
"It gives us hope to be able to retire, so that when we reach our retirement age, we can rest and enjoy our old age quietly," said AAA farmer Delio Gonzalez.
"Coffee farmers work very hard their whole lives, yet they don't have the means to support themselves when they reach old age. That is why Nespresso and Fairtrade International are collaborating with the farmers in Colombia on an innovative retirement savings plan. Nespresso began sourcing Fairtrade certified coffee in 2014 from the Aguadas cooperative in Caldas, Colombia and so far over 800 farmers have decided to invest part of the Fairtrade Premium in actively planning for their retirement," said Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International. "Our hope is that this will also help the younger generation see coffee farming as a viable career, so preserving this essential part of the Colombian economy and heritage."
Nespresso has also progressed with its agroforestry plan. The reintroduction of trees in coffee producing regions helps protect natural ecosystems, thereby strengthening coffee farms' resilience to climate change and ensuring sustainable coffee production for the future. Around 130,000 trees were planted in 2014 in Guatemala and Colombia as part of pilot programs. In the first half of 2015, approximately 200,000 trees have been planted in Ethiopia and Guatemala, and another 300,000 will be planted by the end of 2015 in Mexico and Colombia.
"The Rainforest Alliance has been working with Nespresso and the AAA Program since it was first created in 2003. Together we have seen great achievements that have delivered tangible improvement to lives of coffee farmers, families and communities, as well as environmental and biodiversity benefits," said Tensie Whelan, President of the Rainforest Alliance. "The progress being delivered by Nespresso, the Rainforest Alliance and Pur Projet through the agroforestry plan is building on that success, helping farmers to improve their resilience to the real and present threat that is climate change. Working together we are showing that care for the environment and for coffee farmers is a fundamental part of supplying the highest quality coffee to Nespresso's consumers around the world."
The Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program was developed with the NGO the Rainforest Alliance to secure the supply of highest quality coffees, protect the environment and improve farmer welfare. Over 63'000 farmers are now taking part in the program in 11 countries, benefiting from technical assistance, trainings, price premiums and investments in infrastructures.