Nespresso and Fairtrade join forces, launch innovative farmer support programme

Bruce McNamer, President & CEO Technoserve, Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO Nestle Nespresso S.A., Tensie Whelan, President Rainforest Alliance, Harriet Lamb, CEO Fairtrade International, and George Clooney at the Nespresso Launch event in Lausanne, Switzerland

Coffee farmers Luis Roberto Zapata of Jardin in Antioquia, along with Jorge Ivan Henao, and his father Pedro Nenao of the Fairtrade certified Aguadas Cooperative in Caldas, Colombia. Watch an interview with the farmers here

16 July 2013

Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International, and Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nestlé Nespresso, today announce a new, long-reaching partnership to benefit thousands of small-scale coffee farmers. The announcement comes as Nespresso celebrates ten years of their Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program, focused on improving quality and sustainability for farmers and their communities.

Nespresso has committed to source a growing proportion of its coffee from Fairtrade certified cooperatives, a partnership that will provide thousands of smallholder coffee farmers with even greater income security, as well as better supporting the development of strong farmer organizations, essential building blocks of economic, social and environmental development. As part of the initiative, Nespresso will market coffee from the AAA farmer cooperatives in the region of Caldas, Colombia, and certified Fairtrade.

“This encourages the kind of development that not only helps whole communities; it further emphasises the fundamental necessity of ensuring that quality of life of farmers is on a par with the quality of coffee they’re producing,” said Lamb. “When a company like Nespresso comes on board, we’re excited because then it means that sustainability and the coffee farmers will stay at the heart of the conversations that businesses are having.”

The partnership unites Fairtrade’s deep experience in building strong, democratic farmers’ organizations with Nespresso’s AAA Programme, which has proven impact in helping farmers improve quality, sustainability and productivity, as well as contributing wider social and economic benefits. As part of the programme, Nespresso and Fairtrade will work with the cooperatives to introduce social welfare provisions to benefit farmers and their families, including health and accident coverage and retirement planning.

“By 2020 we aim to make a further contribution to smallholder farmer welfare through our Nespresso AAA Program by working with Fairtrade and our other partners. Our Nespresso AAA Farmer Future Program is an important piece in our larger goal of improving livelihoods for all coffee farmers in our supply chain,” Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nestlé Nespresso.

Fairtrade will work closely with the CLAC, the Fairtrade producer network representing Latin American producers, and the cooperatives in Colombia to begin developing the program.

Marike de Peña, the President of CLAC, Fairtrade International Vice Chair, and director of Banelino, a Fairtrade smallscale producer organization, welcomes the announcement on behalf of their members. “The CLAC recognises the importance of Nespresso AAA for the Colombian small farmers coffee cooperatives and hopefully for other cooperatives in the near future. Investments in productivity, quality and best practices are crucial for farmers, not just to guarantee economic, social and environmental sustainability, but also to make sure that the next generation will be able to consider coffee farming an attractive and viable livelihood. The CLAC is happy to work on the ground with Nespresso to achieve these common goals and looks forward to building on this first step in Colombia to ultimately extend the benefits of the Farmer Future Programme to many more farmers.“

Nespresso will begin by purchasing Fairtrade coffee from farmers in Caldas, Colombia, including the Aguadas Cooperative – a father/son duo from the cooperative was in attendance at the programme launch. Nespresso already sources from five Fairtrade certified cooperatives in the region under the AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program. These cooperatives, comprising 7,000 small-scale farmers, were the first to join the Nespresso AAA Program in 2004.

“A key to Fairtrade’s success is its strength in supporting farmers to build strong organizations and implement development projects for their communities on their own terms according to their priorities,” adds Merling Preza, President of the CLAC’s Coffee Network and Manager of PRODECOOP, one of the largest Fairtrade coffee co-ops in Nicaragua. “This involvement creates a sense of ownership among cooperative members which is vital to success. We also welcome the fact that Nespresso has already led the way in paying farmers a fair price. This commitment, now further bolstered through the safety net provided by the Fairtrade Minimum Price and through the Fairtrade Premium, is insulation so urgently needed to protect farmers from the volatility of the coffee market.”

As the AAA Farmer Future Program develops and impact becomes apparent, Nespresso and Fairtrade will look to extend the partnership to other regions. The overall AAA Program comprises over 56,000 smallholder farmers representing 80 percent of Nespresso’s total coffee volume.

In addition to the new AAA Farmer Future Program, Nespresso launched two other programs and their Nespresso Sustainability Advisory Board, comprising experts and thought leaders in the area of sustainability. The board will provide insight and recommendations to enhance Nespresso’s efforts. Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International, was selected to serve on the board along with leaders from Rainforest Alliance, Technoserve, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, the Fair Labor Association, and actor, activist George Clooney. Lamb participated in their first meeting at the launch of the programme on 15 July in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Download the full release here (PDF).

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