Nespresso says all its coffee will be carbon-neutral by 2022

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Leading coffee pod manufacturer Nespresso has pledged to make every cup of its coffee carbon-neutral by 2022. The brand tells The Vegan Review how it plans to achieve that.

Nespresso, the Nestlé subsidiary known for its coffee pods, has committed to making “every cup of Nespresso coffee” carbon neutral by 2022.

Having been carbon neutral since 2017 in all its business operations, Nespresso is now expanding its efforts to its supply chains and product life cycles. The company plans to achieve this with three major steps: reducing emissions, insetting and offsetting.

Speaking to The Vegan Review, Hanna Jonasson, Nespresso’s sustainability corporate communications and public affairs manager, said that the company has achieved its carbon neutrality goals in Scopes 1 and 2 (with business operations). And now it’s tackling emissions that are a consequence of the company’s operations, but not directly owned or controlled by it, as part of Scope 3.

“This means there are elements that we can actively affect, and others that we can strive to influence,” she said. “We are already actively looking to influence elements within our control by, for example, investing in solutions that drive positive carbon impact, such as supporting forest conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, and investing in clean energy within farming communities.

“For those elements out of our direct control, we will be working closely with our supply chain partners, who feel the same urgency as we do on climate change, to encourage positive moves towards carbon reduction.”

As part of its efforts to reduce carbon emissions, Nespresso, whose parent company Nestlé has been expanding its vegan product line, outlined its major steps: 100% renewable energy in all its boutiques, increasing biogas use in manufacturing processes, and increasing the use of recycled plastic within its machines as well as recycled and low carbon virgin aluminium within its coffee pods.

The sustainability of its coffee capsules has been a major discussion in recent years. But in February this year, the brand launched its first capsules made by 80% recycled aluminium. By the end of 2021, it aims to have the Original and Vertuo pods made fully by recycled aluminium, which requires 95% less energy to produce than virgin aluminium.

“In addition, we have also worked towards creating new machine packaging that is 100% recyclable and made of 95% recycled material launched earlier this year. During 2021, we aim to have all of our machines using this new packaging,” said Jonasson.

She added that 35% of carbon emissions of a cup of coffee come from the green coffee supply stage: “Consequently, making sure to not waste any of the coffee is important. The Nespresso system uses a precise amount of ground coffee, water and energy to make one cup, which minimises food, water and energy waste.”

Nespresso’s current rate of recycling its coffee pods is 30%. It has invested 185 million CHF (£157 million) in its recycling infrastructures globally since 2014, with over 100,000 collection points in 57 countries. 91% of the brand’s customers have access to a recycling option, and it’s working to ensure that all its customers have that access by the end of the year.

Jonasson says increasing the recycling rate is dependant on four key elements: raising awareness and driving consumer participation, working with authorities to integrate capsule recycling into collective recycling schemes, increasing the number of collection points, and integrating other portioned coffee makers into the scheme to improve the accessibility of aluminium capsule recycling.

In terms of insetting, Nespresso plans to triple its capacity of planting trees by 2022, in collaboration with PUR Projet, by expanding to six additional coffee producing countries.

As part of its carbon offsetting initiatives, the brand says its first priority is to reduce emissions by 50% between now and 2030. It will invest in projects to support forest conservation and restoration, as well as implement clean energy solutions within farming communities.

With its range of partners, Nespresso will be looking to implement Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) or Gold Standard certified offsetting initiatives, such as supporting forest conservation, sustainable forest management and investing in clean energy within farming communities.

“Climate change is a reality and our future depends on going further and faster on our sustainability commitments,” said Nespresso CEO Guillaume Le Cunff in a press release. “That is why we are accelerating our commitments to offer our consumers a way to drink a carbon-neutral cup of coffee by 2022.”

Anay Mridul
Anay Mridul
Anay is journalism graduate from City, University of London, he was a barista for three years, and never shuts up about coffee. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford Comma. Originally from India, he went vegan in 2020, after attempting (and failing) Veganuary. He believes being environmentally conscious is a basic responsibility, and veganism is the best thing you can do to battle climate change. He gets lost at Whole Foods sometimes.