In 2010 IUCN and Nespresso entered into a five year programme of work , to promote sustainability in the aluminum value chain. The main objectives of the partnership are:

  • creating a market differentiation for sustainability performance throughout the aluminum value chain;
  • measuring and strengthening the ecological outcomes of the Nespresso Ecolaboration commitments; and
  • exploring new business models which are designed to minimize Nespresso’s footprint on the environment.

IUCN and Nespresso will investigate, develop and implement an Initiative (the AluCycle™ initiative) to address the lifecycle footprint of aluminum used in Nespresso’s capsules. Aluminium has been identified by Nespresso as one of three central pieces of their sustainability strategy – Ecolaboration (the areas of Ecolaboration are aluminium, coffee and machines). The amount of aluminium in the capsules (though small in relation to global aluminium consumption), represents a very visible part of the Nespresso footprint to Nespresso consumers.

One of the planned outcomes of the Nespresso-IUCN agreement is the development of a “Responsible Aluminum” product which will demonstrate measured and verified progress in implementing sustainability standards and practices in the aluminum industry. This involves convening companies from the aluminum value chain (from bauxite miners to recycling companies), interested stakeholders from civil society (environmental, human rights and labour organizations), and others (academics, governments, and international organizations) to agree a set of principles and criteria and develop a credible verification scheme for the aluminum industry.

Read more about the on-going work streams:

Assessing impacts and dependencies at ecosystem level
In partnership with IUCN, Nespresso reviewed its dependence and impacts on ecosystem services important to coffee production in the Jinotega coffee cluster in Nicaragua. IUCN adapted WBCSD’s Corporate Ecosystem Services Review (ESR) approach to: 1) gain a better understanding of the important ecosystem services that Nespresso’s coffee supply depends and impacts upon; 2) evaluate the conditions and trends of these ecosystem services; and 3) propose interventions based on business risks and opportunities derived from current conditions and future trends of these ecosystem services. This ESR pilot was conducted in Nicaragua with the intent of making it replicable to any coffee cluster (a spatially related group of coffee farms) in Nespresso’s global supply chain.

Initial findings from a site visit indicate four important ecosystem services that Nespresso’s coffee suppliers both depend and impact upon in Nicaragua: shade habitat and its regulating services, such as pollination, pest control and disease mitigation; water quality and flow; soil quantity and quality; and climate regulation and adaptation (from local to global scales). Nespresso’s AAA Sustainable Quality Program promotes the adoption of sustainable management practices on-farm, however its coffee supply can still be threatened by unsustainable practices around its farms that might impact the four ecosystem services.


Establishing partnerships with IUCN members to promote aluminium recycling in Europe
IUCN also provides support to Nespresso in implementing its commitment to recycling aluminium capsules. Nespresso’s recycling programme, which mainly depends on dedicated systems, would gain in effectiveness if it could link to local packaging waste management programmes (such as the green dots systems in Europe). Due to the current exclusion as a packaging by the EU, there is no legal requirement for Nespresso’s capsules to be collected through the local waste management systems. However, national and local authorities can decide to apply a more stringent definition of packaging and include also single-portion coffee, such as Nespresso, in the packaging waste stream.

IUCN has therefore supported Nespresso by enabling country-based engagements with IUCN members that would focus on influencing the national waste management policy agenda. In Spain, Nespresso has partnered by AccióNatura and in Belgium (with a European and national scope) with European Bureau for Conservation and Development (EBCD). Nespresso’s wish to partner with IUCN Members was also the focus of a side event organized on the occasion of the IUCN European Regional Conservation Forum, in September 2011.

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