Nespresso to invest in post-conflict Colombian coffee

Nespresso has announced it will expand its coffee-sourcing program for the first time into several former conflict zones as part of a US$50 million investment (about AU$64 million) in sustainable high-quality coffee cultivation in Colombia.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos addressed the Nespresso Sustainability Advisory Board where he welcomed the company’s commitment. He cited the investment as an important contribution to the development of post-conflict areas.

The pledge builds on Nespresso’s long-term commitment to Colombian coffee and its efforts to improve production in regions previously impacted by the conflict, including reviving the industry in areas where production was lost. It follows Nespresso’s limited-edition Aurora de la Paz (Dawn of Peace), a coffee sourced from the region of Caquetá and launched earlier this year as a symbol of the opportunity that peace presents for coffee farmers.

Early indications suggest that Nespresso will source up to five times more coffee from Caquetá in 2018, as it expands its efforts into areas that were inaccessible before the peace accord. The extension of the program will see coffee sourcing for the first time from San Vicente del Caguán, a community that found itself at the centre of the armed conflict. This region has unique climate, with Arabica coffees grown at a low altitude and low temperatures. Combined with the high humidity, this characterises the coffee with rich, fruity notes and fine acidity.

“Colombian coffee is the finest in the world. I welcome Nespresso’s commitment to our country, which highlights the many opportunities that peace opens for Colombia,” says President Juan.

Nespresso’s agronomists have already started working with more than 500 producers in the Caquetá region in order to implement its AAA Sustainable Quality Program. The program works directly with farmers to improve their productivity, quality and sustainability by sharing good practice, providing technical assistance, and improving standards in farmers’ environmental and social welfare.

“Quality coffee, and the premiums that farmers can earn, present a very strong opportunity for the long-term sustainability and resilience of coffee farming communities. We are delighted to bring this incredible coffee to the world,” says Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nespresso.

The Caquetá farmers will join the 33,000 Colombian farmers already enrolled in the AAA Program, launched in the country in 2004 and supported by a team of 150 local agronomists. The extension of the program into San Vicente will be implemented with the support of Nespresso’s strategic partner, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC).

“We are honoured to build on our partnership with Nespresso, to renew the commitment we have made to Colombia’s coffee farmers and to work together with our communities for a lasting, peaceful and prosperous future,” says Roberto Velez, CEO of the FNC.

Key achievements of the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality programme in Colombia so far include:

  • 33,000 Colombian farmers enrolled in the Program, supported by a team of 150 local agronomists
  • Supporting 10,000 AAA coffee farmers to become certified by The Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade International and Fairtrade USA
  • Helping farmers to build resilience to climate change by driving the reforestation of 1 million native species of trees on farms by the end of 2017
  • Supporting the FNC to renovate 100 million coffee trees
  • Co-investing in water management systems in 25 critical water basins and promoting community milling facilities
  • The introduction of a retirement savings scheme for 2000 farmers in Caldas together with Colpensiones and the Fairtrade International Organisation
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