George Clooney completes Nespresso sustainability board

George Clooney, the face and ambassador of coffee brand Nespresso, has joined the company's sustainability advisory board to mark the tenth anniversary of its AAA Sustainable Quality Program.

The movie star will provide recommendations to enhance the company’s long-term sustainability strategy along with thought-leaders and sustainability experts including CEO of Fairtrade International Harriet Lamb, president of the Rainforest Alliance Tensie Whelan, and president and CEO of the Fair Labor Association Auret Van Heerden.

Coinciding with Clooney’s new role, Nespresso unveiled a series of major new socio-economic and environmental initiatives, which largely focus on its work in Africa and in particular South Sudan.

Commenting on his new role, Clooney said: “I am excited for the opportunity to bring together my role as an ambassador for Nespresso and an advocate for a better future for the people of South Sudan”.

“This program will help farmers and their families secure their future by building new sources of sustainable business in this region. It will provide much-needed income and security for thousands of farmers and their families living in coffee communities and has the potential to play an important role in helping to diversify the economic base in the country,” he added.

The new initiatives will build on the company’s AAA Program, which was developed ten years ago in co-operation with the Rainforest Alliance to secure high quality coffee while improving sustainable farming practices and enhancing farmer welfare.

According to parent company Nestle, by the end of 2012 Nespresso was sourcing almost 70% of its coffee from farmers signed up to the programme. It aims to increase this to 80% by the end of 2013.

The company said it would extend its AAA Program to smallholder farmers in Ethiopia and Kenya with the aim of doubling the amount of coffee it sources from the two countries to 10,000 tonnes by 2020.

Nespresso also confirmed that it will continue to work towards bringing all its coffee farmers into the AAA Program, as well as increasing the number of farmers who obtain Rainforest Alliance certification.

CEO of Nespresso, Jean-Marc Duvoisin, said: “As we mark ten years of the AAA Program, I am proud to have the opportunity to work with renowned leaders in environmental and social sustainability to strengthen our programmes and develop new initiatives to create shared value for coffee farmers”.

“Their insight and independent perspectives will help advance our sustainability efforts and will ensure we remain focused on initiatives that will have a positive overall impact on the environment and social aspects of our value chain.”

In addition, the company will expand the ‘agro-forestry’ element of the AAA Program, in collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance and conservation organisation Pur Projet.

The aim is to help farmers to increase their investment in harvestable trees or shrubs that can be grown among or around coffee crops as a means of preserving or enhancing the productivity of the land.

Leigh Stringer

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