Nespresso impact

United by Farmers


George Clooney holding espresso along with fair trade leaders at the Nespresso Launch event.
From left to right: 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
Photo by: Emmanuel Nguyen Ngoc

When you think of Nespresso, machines, luxury and George Clooney may come to mind. You may also recall Nespresso’s commitment to sourcing exceptional coffee since their founding more than 30 years ago.

Around the same time, Fairtrade also began our journey with coffee farmers, connecting Mexican coffee farmers to Dutch coffee lovers to promote fairer trading conditions. Since our founding in 1988, Fairtrade has spread across the world and is one of the most recognized ethical label globally according to a 2015 & 2018 Globescan study.

With deep commitments to both high-quality and sustainable sourcing, Fairtrade and Nespresso began working together in 2013, united by a shared vision of long-term partnership to build resilient farmer communities.

Transitioning to Fairtrade Sourcing

Sourcing Fairtrade can be a gradual transition for brands like Nespresso, who value high-quality, sustainability and long-term partnerships with farmers.

In 2014 Nespresso began sourcing from Fairtrade certified cooperatives, a transition that aligned with Nespresso’s sustainability goals including: quality and productivity, economic stability, inter-generational succession and climate adaptation. However, it wasn’t until three years later in 2017, when Nespresso launched two Limited-Edition Fairtrade lines from Colombia and Ethiopia that the Fairtrade Mark first appeared on Nespresso’s packaging.

Only 1-2% of the global coffee meets Nespresso’s quality standards.

Supporting existing suppliers with the Fairtrade certification process allows Nespresso to meet both quality standards and sustainability goals. In 2017, Nespresso began exploring Fairtrade certification for an existing supplier cooperative in Indonesia that met their quality standards and was interested in the benefits of Fairtrade certification.

A year after the Fairtrade limited-edition lines, Nespresso launched two permanent Fairtrade-labelled capsules, sourced from a long-term Fairtrade cooperative in Caldas, Colombia (Vertuo Master Origin Colombia) and long-term Nespresso supplier, but newly certified cooperative in Sumatra, Indonesia (Master Origin Indonesia).

Yellow and green coffee cherries at a Fairtrade certified cooperative in Nicaragua.
Photo by: Sean Hawkey

How Fairtrade works for Farmers

Fairtrade is a farmer-led certification system that guards against the risks of price volatility and other factors contributing to instability in the coffee sector. On top of the purchase price, all Fairtrade cooperatives receive a Fairtrade Premium. Members decide democratically on how to spend this money, such as business investments for the organization, education, healthcare, transition to organic production or community services.

Beyond Certification

In 2014, Fairtrade partnered with Nespresso, along with local and national institutions, to co-design and launch a savings plan for farmers in Caldas, Colombia. The savings plan is part of Nespresso’s Farmer Future Program to support farmers financially long-term and incentivize younger generations.

Since its launch in 2014 the retirement savings program has contributed $1.6 million in Nespresso Fairtrade Premium to 1,449 farmers in Caldas, Colombia for retirement.

Additional Fairtrade Premiums will support ongoing trainings, improvements to infrastructure, and social initiatives.

Together with Nespresso, Blue Marble and Fairtrade, a crop insurance pilot has been launched recently with the aim to protect coffee farmers in Aguadas, Colombia against drought and excess rainfall. This innovative tool is using satellite technology to provide a simpler, cheaper and more-efficient solution with adequate timely payments.

Did you know…

Fairtrade has a network of 650+ cooperatives in 31 countries. Connect with our coffee experts to discuss how Fairtrade can help you meet both your sustainability and quality expectations.