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Developing practical tools for ensuring Sustainable Quality™

Providing training and technical assistance

As part of the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program, we work with our own network of agronomists and our partners on the ground to provide training and technical assistance on coffee quality, farm productivity and sustainable agriculture to farmers. This support is delivered through the Tool for the Assessment of Sustainable Quality, called TASQ™, a unique methodology that we developed with the Rainforest Alliance and other leading NGOs.

Once farmers have completed the self-assessment part of the process, agronomists undertake inspections of the farm. These assessments are verified by Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) partners.


Sustainability performance at the heart of the AAA Program

The Tool for the Assessment of
Sustainable Quality (TASQ™),
a unique Nespresso methodology

The TASQ™ process applies the Rainforest Alliance and Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) standards for social and environmental criteria. This includes 14 critical sustainability criteria, which must be addressed if the farm is to continue with the Program. For example, there is an entire module focused on “Fair treatment and Good Working Conditions for Workers”, which, broadly speaking, covers the fundamental International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention. This module details the specific standards that farms must achieve regarding workers’ rights and benefits.

There are four levels to the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program.

  • Low performing: One or more underperforming AAA practice (including sustainability and quality criteria) has been identified. Farmers must eliminate the 32 underperforming criteria (including the 14 Rainforest Alliance critical sustainability criteria) before they can move to the next stage of the program.
  • Basic: Farms comply with internationally accepted minimum standards for sustainability.
  • Emerging: Farmers have adopted sustainability practices and consider sustainability holistically within farm management. Groups of farmers can choose to apply for Rainforest Alliance certification.
  • High performing: Farmers have adopted best practice agriculture methods and state of the art facilities on all aspects of the AAA program. This means scoring positively on all of the 300 criteria within the TASQ™ assessment.

At the heart of the AAA program is a long-term commitment to work together with coffee farmers to improve productivity and sustainability, while improving quality.

With the exception of child labour, if a farmer is found to be falling short on one or more of these critical criteria, they will be given the time and support to resolve the issue. If the farm continues to fail on these critical criteria, it will be excluded from the AAA program.


Gaining Rainforest Alliance certification

AAA farm performance status in Calda-Antioquia
region, as recorded in the Nespresso AAA database

Since 2009, Nespresso has offered coffee farmers demonstrating progress in the AAA Program the opportunity to apply for Rainforest Alliance certification. This certification is beneficial for farmers as they have the opportunity to secure additional premiums for the coffee that they choose not to sell to Nespresso, thus increasing their incomes. To help groups of farmers take this step, Nespresso pays the first year of certification audits.