Nespresso targets carbon neutrality by 2022

A more in-depth analysis of Nespresso's carbon footprint will also be conducted by teams in the UK & Ireland

The coffee giant achieved carbon neutrality across its Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions sources back in 2017, after undertaking a two-pronged approach consisting of reductions and offsetting. Meeting the firm’s new target will require further reduction work, greater engagement with the supply chain and its first foray into insetting – creating carbon sequestration opportunities in communities where it operates.

In order to meet the new target, Nespresso has pledged to switch to 100% renewable energy in all boutiques, following the installation of modern energy management systems at these locations. It is already sourcing 100% renewable electricity through a tariff at its offices in York and Gatwick. Manufacturing locations will also be supported to decarbonize their heat by investing in biogas.

Aside from internal reductions, Nespresso has partnered with ecosystem services provider Pur Projet to triple the number of trees planted at coffee farms across its supply chains and in the surrounding landscapes. Nespresso, which sources from nations including Colombia, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Costa Rica, said in a statement that trees “are the best way to capture carbon from the atmosphere while investing in nature and building a regenerative agricultural system”. In other words, trees bring not only carbon sequestration benefits but a boost for soil health and biodiversity.

Offsetting is listed by the coffee giant as its last step to meeting its new 2022 target – a process to be used to tackle residual emissions only. It intends to invest in a mixture of forest conservation, reforestation, afforestation and clean energy projects which benefit farming communities across the globe.

“Climate change is a reality and our future depends on going further and faster on our sustainability commitments,” Nespresso’s chief executive Guillaume Le Cunff said. “I truly believe that both our business and the coffee industry can be a force for good in the world by tackling this pressing issue.”

Wake up and smell the coffee

Some 60% of wild coffee species are estimated to be at risk of extinction due to the twin climate and nature crises, including Arabica, which accounts for almost two-thirds of global production. This is because the primary regions of production are disproportionately affected by temperature rise and nature loss.

Fairtrade International has been working to help farmers mitigate and adapt to the impacts of these trends for several years, providing them with education, minimum prices and price premiums for sustainable production. It also serves to ensure farmer voices are heard by policymakers on a national and state level and at key international discussions.

Corporate efforts to tackle the issue seem to have accelerated in recent times. After vowing to halve its emissions footprint by 2030, Starbucks recently joined eight other multinational businesses in a new initiative which will provide businesses with the roadmaps they need to achieve net-zero emissions by or before 2050. Similarly, Costa Coffee is part of the British Retail Consortium’s coalition developing a net-zero roadmap for the UK’s retail sector, with a target more ambitious than the national 2050 requirement.

There are, of course, smaller businesses which have been able to go further and faster. Lincoln & York has aligned its business model with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for example, while Taylors of Harrogate is striving to reach carbon neutrality by the end of 2020.

Sarah George

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