BETTER BEANS: Many Colombian coffee farmers have been growing the crop their whole lives
Coffee farmers who are part of Nespresso’s AAA Sustainable Quality Programme in Colombia have higher income levels, better living conditions and increased farm productivity, a new study suggests.
The research, carried out by independent Colombian organisation, CRECE, looked at social, environmental and economic conditions among 1,000 farmers growing coffee in the country within Nespresso’s AAA programme.
The programme, developed in co-operation with the Rainforest Alliance, is a unique approach to securing the highest quality green coffee required to produce the Grand Cru coffees that Nespresso consumers have come to expect, while improving sustainable farming practices and enhancing farmer welfare.
“For us, quality and sustainability are intricately linked. More sustainable farming increases the ability to produce consistent quality far into the future,” said Jean-Marc Duvoisin, Chief Executive Officer of Nespresso, who announced the results of the study at a Rainforest Alliance event in New York, USA, this week.
“Through the AAA programme, we are committed to making coffee growing more environmentally sustainable, and to making the market more attractive for the farmers who supply us.”
The study found that the programme is working, with farmers in the initiative having a net income more than 40% higher than farmers outside it in 2011, for example.
In turn, higher net income levels are related to greater productivity, with farmers who are part of the plan able to invest in more fertiliser and resilient coffee varieties.
Through the AAA programme, we are committed to making coffee growing more environmentally sustainable, and to making the market more attractive for the farmers who supply us. Jean-Marc Duvoisin, Chief Executive Officer of Nespresso
Better business choices
“The concrete data coming from the field shows the significant impact that the partnership between the Rainforest Alliance and Nespresso is having on the ground in coffee growing communities,” said Tensie Whelan, President of the Rainforest Alliance.
The study showed that farmers who take part in the initiative, which has been operating for 10 years, also have a better awareness of prices on the local coffee market, enabling them to make better business decisions.
Most coffee farmers in Colombia have been growing the crop their whole working lives, producing the beans on small plots of land between one and five square hectares in size.
They often support their families through growing coffee. Those who are part of the AAA programme say they have more household assets, better living conditions and a safer working environment.
Nespresso AAA farmers in Colombia also have more environmentally sustainable farms, often running recycling programmes and practicing soil conservation techniques.
Farmers who are part of the initiative scored 52.1% better on the survey’s environmental index than those who are not.
Setting the standard
At the same event in New York, Nestlé received an award from the Rainforest Alliance for its work in partnership with the organisation on the Nescafé Plan.
The plan, which Nestlé launched in 2010, is a five-year, CHF 350 million global initiative to ensure a long-term supply of high quality, sustainably sourced coffee.
The Sustainable Standard Setter Award recognises Nestlé’s leadership in sustainable business practices and its contribution to improving the livelihoods and working conditions of thousands of coffee farmers around the world.
More than 170,000 farmers in ten countries including Mexico, Brazil, India, China and Vietnam are taking part in the Nescafé Plan, which was also developed in conjunction with the Rainforest Alliance.