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Between 2009 and 2013, we reduced the carbon
footprint of a cup of Nespresso coffee by over 20%

Life cycle assessment to understand and improve environmental performance

We use life cycle assessments (LCA) to help us identify and measure the biggest areas of environmental impact within our value chain.

LCA is a comprehensive scientific method, following ISO norms, that measures the entire life cycle of a product against five key indicators: climate change, water footprint, biodiversity, energy and human health. It is a valuable tool in making informed decisions to optimise our environmental performance and measure our progress in reducing our carbon footprint.

The LCA of a cup of Nespresso coffee showed that the biggest environmental impacts occur primarily during coffee cultivation and the use of Nespresso machines. Unlike what people think, the production of Nespresso capsules comes third. To reduce our carbon footprint we have thus strongly focused on areas under our control. We have thus improved the energy efficiency of our machines and implemented dedicated solutions to collect and recycle our used capsules.

To find out more, refer to the case study on LCA.

LCA study showed that the greatest impact on the environment comes from growing coffee and preparing
the coffee at home (source: Quantis 2012)


Reducing our carbon footprint through machine innovation

We bring together internal R&D specialists with machine manufacturers to design ever more innovative, high-performing and energy efficient machines.

Since 2009, all Nespresso consumer machines have been equipped with an automatic power-off function or an automatic stand-by mode. PIXIE, U and Inissia, three recent machines, consume 60% less energy than A-ranked machines according to FEA/CECED standards.

We are also developing energy-saving machines for our business customers. Thanks to advanced thermobloc technology, our newest professional Zenius machine is quick and efficient, with a start-up time under 35 seconds. In “ready to use” mode it uses 30% less energy than conventional machines. In standby mode, the energy consumption of our CS220 machine is over 20 times lower than when the machine is switched on and in “ready to use” mode.


With capsule collection systems currently established
in 39 countries, we are pushing forward to 100% global
capsule collection capacity by 2020

100% capsule recycling capacity, 100% sustainably managed aluminium

As firm believers in the value of aluminium and the importance of recycling, we have committed to expand our used capsule collection capacity to 100% by 2020 and to increase capsule recycling rates wherever we do business. Currently there are capsule collection systems in 39 countries with over 100,000 capsule collection points worldwide.

Our efforts are also having a positive impact beyond our own operations. In France, we have rallied industry leaders to advance the use of new technology for aluminium and steel recovery. In Denmark, we lobbied the government to change legislation and accept private recycling solutions, thus enabling other companies in the country to recycle their products.

On a global level, as a co-founding member of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) launched in 2012, we have worked with other industry leaders, policy makers and NGOs to create the first standard for sustainable aluminium launched at the end of 2014. We have committed to source 100% virgin aluminium capsule material compliant with the new ASI standard by 2020.

To find out more, read the factsheet about our approach to sustainable aluminium.


By the end of 2013, Nespresso reduced transport-related
CO2 emissions in Europe by about 13% compared
with 2010

Optimising operational sustainability

We are also continuing to build environmental efficiencies into our production centres and logistics networks, although they account for only a small part of the Nespresso carbon footprint.

Our production centres in Switzerland have been designed with a number of energy saving features. For example, in Avenches, rainwater is collected for use as utility water, and river water is used to cool our production centre in Orbe. Innovative heat recovery systems recycle energy from the production process to help heat the facilities. Integrated into the coffee roasters at Romont is a system that re-injects heat for use by the facility and is setup to do the same with the homes in the town. 100% of our green coffee is delivered to all three production centres by rail.

We are continuing to optimise delivery distances between our warehouses, manufacturers and consumers, especially as the company expands operations in response to growing consumer demand.


Increasing farm climate resilience through agroforestry

Since 2003, the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program has been addressing some of the greatest identified impacts on the environment, such as deforestation, use of fertilisers, water management and productivity. While we have made significant improvements to AAA farm ecosystems, our next challenge is to consider the landscape (ecosystems, watersheds, soil) in which the farms operate.

In 2013 we launched an agroforestry program with our partners Pur Projet and the Rainforest Alliance. Its aim is to help protect, regenerate and improve coffee ecosystems to strengthen coffee farms climate change resilience. Trees will be reintroduced or maintained both inside and outside coffee farms to help:

  • Regulate water availability by limiting evaporation and soil erosion, as well as preserving soil humidity
  • Improve water quality and reduce soil pollution
  • Enhance soil fertility and limit chemical input
  • Absorb carbon from the air to generate biomass
  • Generate economic benefits for the farmers thanks to crop diversification and carbon certification

The agroforestry program was piloted in two AAA clusters in Huehuetenango, Guatemala and Caldas, Colombia, where 130,000 timber and fruit trees were planted between 2013 and 2014. We will roll out this program on a broader scale throughout the AAA value chain by 2020.

To find out more, read the backgrounder on agroforestry.


Intelligent Water Management

Water usage and conservation is still a challenge
in many countries, like Colombia, where most smallholder
farmers do no have access to water treatment facilities
(© Christian Lamontagne)

Since 2004, the AAA Program has worked to solve pressing coffee environmental challenges in Colombia, with a strong focus on water efficiency. This has entailed upgrading thousands of installations, including around 29,000 wet milling and sun drying installations, 15,000 water infrastructures and 8,000 water management solutions in farms in Cauca and Nariño, Colombia.

By joining the Intelligent Water Program (IWM) together with partners such as the Colombian Coffee Growers’ Federation (FNC), Nestlé, and the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands, we are reinforcing and broadening our existing strategy to address the water challenge in the country. This five-year, multi-stakeholder effort is addressing significant risks presented by climate change and water-related issues in Colombia. It will include support for key coffee growing regions in Colombia, including Caldas-Antioquia, Cauca and Nariño. The program includes:

  • Developing and implementing water management solutions at both farm level and landscape level.
  • Training farmers and communities to improve their environmental performance and coffee production systems to be competitive and sustainable, managing risks related to water and weather.
  • Research and development of new technologies to fight water pollution.


100% carbon efficient operations

Between 2009 and 2013 we reduced the carbon footprint of a cup of Nespresso coffee by over 20%.

As part of Nespresso new sustainability strategy, The Positive Cup, for 2020, we have developed a mechanism to compensate its residual operational carbon footprint. The mechanism consists in planting trees within Nespresso value chain so that the benefits delivered by the trees on top of carbon sequestration (for instance, soil regeneration, water availability…) can benefit the Nespresso value chain partners.

This will enable us to become 100% carbon efficient in our operations.

To find out more, see our sustainability case studies.

Download our infographics on environmental performance (2nd version)