In a move that might come as a surprise to some, the World Finance Magazine voted Nespresso as the “Most Sustainable Company in the Coffee Processing Industry 2021”.

The Sustainability Awards launched in 2019 to honour companies for their contribution to protecting the environment. Head of Special Projects at the World Finance Magazine, Monika Wojcik, mentioned a few of Nespresso’s sustainability achievements:

The jury acknowledged Nespresso’s alignment with the Paris Agreement, its contribution to 11 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), its holistic sustainability approach and its roadmap towards carbon neutrality and circularity.

Nespresso was widely seen to have struggled with their recycling strategy for their aluminium capsules, although they have not publicly recognised this view. But the company does have other authentic sustainability initiatives which the judges felt made them deserving of this recognition. One initiative was the company’s Positive Cup sustainability strategy, which has drastically affected the way the company functions, for the better.

Results from this initiative showed that more than 93% of the company’s coffee is now sourced sustainably. This is thanks to the company’s partnership with the Rainforest Alliance, to come up with the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program, a unique coffee sourcing model. This initiative also benefits the farming communities that are working with Nespresso, by ensuring pension saving schemes and crop insurance schemes for the workers.

Although the company has been criticised for making their capsule recycling too impractical, Nespresso points to improved results from their Positive Cup strategy in which the recycling rate increased to 32% by the end of 2020, a 17% increase since 2014. Nespresso achieved this through its role in the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI), which has set standards for the global production of sustainable aluminium.

In the press release, Nespresso mentioned their convenient recycling solutions, using bags that can be dropped off, or collected in some locations. This is not the case, however, as the pandemic closed Nespresso boutiques and the bags that are collected by local councils are limited to just a few areas of the UK.

If you are lucky enough to have the capsules collected by the council, these recycling and recyclable bags are brought to a sorting centre, where the remaining coffee grounds are separated from the aluminium. The coffee grounds are used as compost at local farms while the aluminium is recovered.

In addition to its recycling efforts, Nespresso succeeded in reducing its carbon footprint by 24%. The company has invested in renewable energy use and are now using eco-design products made with low carbon materials.

Nespresso’s Head of Sustainability, Jérôme Perez, mentioned that the company is thrilled that its efforts are recognised. He stated:

“Sustainability is at the heart of what we do. I’m proud of the achievements we have already made… Innovation and collective actions will help us accelerate in this decisive decade. Businesses must be part of the solutions and Nespresso will continue to focus on being a force for good, to preserve the future of our planet and the lives of people.”

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