NEW YORK, May 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Measurable improvements in social, environmental and economic conditions for Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Farms in Colombia
10 Years of cooperation with the Rainforest Alliance to drive sustainable quality
On the occasion of the Rainforest Alliance Sustainability and Certification Innovation Workshop, Nespresso CEO Jean-Marc Duvoisin and Rainforest Alliance President, Tensie Whelan were on hand for the presentation of the results of an impact study demonstrating significant improvements in social, economic and environmental factors for farmers who are part of the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program.
The study demonstrated that the AAA farms surveyed, including those that have obtained Rainforest Alliance certification, had 22.6% better social conditions, 52% better environmental conditions and 41% better economic conditions than non-AAA farms. 
The sustainability impacts were illustrated by CRECE, an independent consulting and research firm based in Colombia, which conducted an in-depth study to compare progress on farms that are part of the Nespresso AAA Program and farms that are not part of the program. CRECE surveyed over 1'000 AAA farmers from across Colombia to measure the impacts of the program, using multivariate analysis techniques to build indices for social, environmental and economic performance.
"The concrete data coming from the field shows the significant impact that the collaboration between the Rainforest Alliance and Nespresso is having on the ground in coffee growing communities," said Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance. "Over the ten years that we have worked with Nespresso on the AAA Program, we have observed significant progress in terms of economic, social and environmental conditions. The CRECE data presented today introduces a concrete methodology to verify this progress."
The Nespresso AAA Program, developed in cooperation with the Rainforest Alliance is a unique approach to securing the highest quality green coffee required to produce the Grand Cru coffees that Nespresso consumers have come to expect, improving sustainable farming practices and enhancing farmer welfare. The AAA Program combines Nespresso coffee expertise with Rainforest Alliance sustainable farming expertise, based on internationally recognised Sustainable Agriculture Network standards. The program is distinctive from other sustainability schemes in that it adds a quality dimension to the sustainability principles and also helps farmers improve farm management and productivity.
"Sustainability is a business imperative for a company like Nespresso that depends on a natural resource to deliver quality and consistency to our consumers every day," said Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nespresso. "For us, quality and sustainability are intricately linked. More sustainable farming increases the ability to produce consistent quality far into the future. This is something that benefits farmers, consumers and our business. Our longstanding collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance has allowed us to develop a program that has demonstrated a significant impact on the ground while securing a long term supply of the highest quality coffee for our company."
The CRECE study demonstrated not only higher absolute values for AAA farms, but it showed an increasing gap between AAA and non-AAA farms as well. Between 2009 and 2011 non-AAA farms generally maintained or demonstrated a decline in their index rating, while AAA farms demonstrated an increase. Among other things, the study also detailed higher prices paid to AAA farmers in the form of premiums and the positive impact that this had on net farmer income, economic stability and an improvement in the social conditions at the farm level for AAA farmers. Additionally, farmers participating in the program reported an increased volume of coffee sold to Nespresso since they had joined the program.
"We were impressed to observe such significant variances in the economic, social and environmental performance between AAA and non-AAA farms across the region," said Carlos Ariel Garcia Romero, principal researcher for CRECE. "Both the quantitative data we gathered and the qualitative feedback that we received through our close interactions with the farmers demonstrate the potential social, environmental and economic impacts that participation in the program can have for farmers and their families."
For an executive summary of the CRECE study http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/publications/crece-nespresso-report
About the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program
Launched in 2003, the Nespresso AAA Program was developed in cooperation with the Rainforest Alliance. The program is a unique approach that combines a focus on quality and sustainability to drive improvements in social, environmental and economic conditions for coffee farmers and farming communities. 2013 marks 10 years of cooperation between the Rainforest Alliance and Nespresso on the Program, which has grown exponentially to encompass over 52,000 farmers today.
Through work with partners on the ground, Nespresso is providing farmers with support, training, financing and technical assistance to improve sustainability and productivity while maintaining quality. Nespresso pays premiums for quality, to fund technical assistance programmes and to incentivise farmers to adopt and implement AAA required best practices. The company is also co-investing in coffee growing projects and infrastructure to improve production processes, increase yields and optimise production costs.
About Nestlé Nespresso SA
Nestlé Nespresso SA is the pioneer and reference for highest-quality portioned premium coffee. Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Nespresso operates in almost 60 countries and has more than 8000 employees. In 2012, it operated a global retail network of 300 exclusive boutiques. http://www.nestle-nespresso.com
About the Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance works with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers. From large multinational corporations to small, community-based cooperatives, businesses and consumers worldwide are involved in the Rainforest Alliance's efforts to bring responsibly produced goods and services to a global marketplace where the demand for sustainability is growing steadily. For more information, visit http://www.rainforest-alliance.org.
The Centre for Regional Entrepreneurial and Coffee Studies is a nonprofit organization based in Colombia, with 26 years of experience in socioeconomic research and consulting. Its work has been oriented to support the decisions taking processes of Governments and private companies by designing, collecting, processing and analyzing good quality information. Its main research topics are Coffee economy, regional development, education and social studies; and during the last decade it has been dedicated to M&E of development programs and measuring of sustainability initiatives on the agricultural sector, especially the coffee sector. http://www.crece.org.co
1. Measurements of social conditions examined working and living conditions and occupational safety and health, while economic conditions included net income, farmer yield and perception of business opportunities and environmental conditions focused on waste management, soil and water conservation and pesticide use among other factors.