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Our raw materials: Coffee | Nestlé

Coffee is one of our key ingredients and the coffee supply chain faces serious challenges. Farmers often have low yields and incomes, and this is compounded by environmental factors such as extreme weather events caused by climate change. We are addressing these challenges through programmes such as the Nescafé Plan and the Nespresso AAA Sustainable QualityTM Program.

Progress against our objectives

Our objectives Our results

By 2020: 70% of the total Nescafé coffee supply to be responsibly sourced.

By 2020: Nescafé to improve the quality, quantity and sustainability of its coffee supply chain by distributing 220 million coffee plantlets.

By 2020: Nescafé to improve coffee farm economics in at least four coffee-sourcing countries.

By 2020: Nescafé to monitor and improve labour rights in at least two coffee-sourcing countries.

By 2020: Source towards 100% of the coffee for Nespresso’s permanent range through its AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program on coffee sourcing.

2017: 54% of total Nescafé coffee supply is responsibly sourced.

2017: 30.9 million coffee plantlets distributed.


Reporting to start in 2018.


Reporting to start in 2018.


2017: 90% of Nespresso coffee sourced through the AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program.


Read more about our commitment to improve our green coffee supply chain and progress against our objectives (pdf, 12Mb)

Sourcing coffee responsibly

Our coffee is sourced both through trade channels and through our Farmer Connect programme, which buys directly from farmers, within our Nescafé Plan and the Nespresso AAA Sustainable QualityTM Program. We source from coffee-growing regions across Latin America, Africa and Asia/Oceania.

  • The Nescafé Plan is the largest coffee sustainability programme in the world, offering support for farmers and compliance with the Responsible Sourcing Guideline (RSG).
  • The Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program (pdf, 12Mb) aims to secure the supply of highest-quality coffees, protect the specific environments in which they are cultivated and build long-term stability in coffee communities.

Through the Nescafé Plan and the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program, we offer systemic solutions that help build resilient communities and landscapes, and support responsible sourcing activities.

Supply chain challenges and solutions

Global demand for coffee is increasing, especially at the premium end of the market, by 1–3% annually. There is also rising demand for food, restricting the land available for coffee, so improving farmers’ productivity is critical not only for their success but also to ensure long-term supplies. We also need to assist the improvement of farm economics, enhancing the prosperity of present growers and attracting the next generation of coffee farmers. Further challenges arise as coffee-growing regions are located in parts of the world most severely affected by climate change.

We provide a range of supporting actions to address these challenges and improve farmers’ livelihoods and that of their communities, helping them to sustainably manage coffee landscapes and be compliant with our Responsible Sourcing Guideline (RSG). Both the Nescafé Plan and the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program work closely with partners such as the Rainforest Alliance to assess and measure the impact of our actions on farmers, communities and landscapes. We also have agronomists and other support staff to assist farmers on the ground.

The Nescafé Plan

We introduced new objectives for 2020 that were more geared towards impact – such as improving coffee farm economics, improving labour rights monitoring and setting a new responsible sourcing target. We have maintained our objective for distributing plantlets. Accordingly, we redesigned the strategic framework of the Nescafé Plan to focus on measuring the impact of our activities. Along with Nespresso, we began implementing our Farmer Advanced Management System (FARMS) in our Farmer Connect value chains. This encompassed individual identification of farms and farmers and our interactions with them, and enables system-based assessments of a transparent value chain.

We also increased our focus on labour rights, entering a partnership with the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Verité to assess labour rights violations in Mexico’s five largest coffee-producing states. This is a first step towards building a system to identify and remediate issues in our value chain.

Nescafé sourced 11 677 tonnes of coffee compliant with the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) Standard principles in 2017. Coffee grown in compliance with the SAN Standard (or its future versions) will continue to play a valuable role within a specific range of our products, including markets that carry the Rainforest Alliance certification seal. We expect an increase over the coming years with the pace of growth of this specific product range. After a detailed supply chain review, we will not reach the 90 000 tonnes captured in a previous objective; however, together with the Rainforest Alliance, we will continue monitoring certified coffee volumes. 

The Rainforest Alliance will remain a strategic partner of Nescafé, working very closely together and with a renewed focus on enabling and assessing Nescafé’s positive impacts on coffee farmers, their communities and landscapes.

The Nespresso AAA Program

The Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program offers a global framework for Nespresso coffee sourcing adapted to local challenges. It is first and foremost a farmer relationship programme, acting at farm level on the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices. It has evolved over the years to address community and landscape resilience, as well as wider systemic challenges facing the sector.

The programme is currently active in 12 countries, reaching more than 75 000 farmers. In 2017, CHF 36 million was invested in coffee operations, technical assistance and premiums to farmers. As part of our work to innovate for long-term community stability, the programme enabled the development of a crop insurance scheme for coffee smallholders in Colombia, designed in partnership with Blue Marble Microinsurance. The scheme will be piloted in 2018 with 3178 farmers in Caldas, Colombia.

Two key partnerships were highlighted during 2017. A press and social media campaign raised consumer awareness of Nespresso's longstanding collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance. Our partnership with Fairtrade International was celebrated by the launch of two certified Fairtrade limited editions – Colombia Aguadas and Ethiopia Yirgacheffe.

Nespresso also launched Aurora de la Paz, a coffee sourced from the region of Caqueta–Colombia, as a symbol of the opportunity that peace presents for coffee farmers. This launch was followed in November 2017 with the announcement of Nespresso’s renewed commitment to Colombia.

Planting trees to increase resilience

Since 2014, Nespresso has deployed agroforestry and reforestation practices as part of its AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program in Guatemala, Colombia, Indonesia and Ethiopia. This consists of planting native shade-providing trees within and around coffee farms to protect soil against erosion and improve soil fertility and water retention. It also offers coffee farmers opportunities for income diversification, through the sale of timber and fruit. So far, Nespresso has planted 2.5 million trees and aims to plant between 4 and 5 million by 2020.