Coffee: Nestle’s responsibly sourced beans

Along with celebrating 50 years of ‘South Africanness’, the NESCAFÉ Ricoffy brand has announced that it uses 100% responsibly sourced coffee beans.

Coffee beans image by Unsplash

The impact is not only in the bottom line, but is more in the knowledge that the product being offered is making a difference in the lives of the coffee farming community, says Nicole Roos, Nestlé South Africa Business Executive Officer for Coffee & Beverages.

“We want South Africans to now really take pride in each and every sip, knowing they are consuming a proudly South African brand that uses responsibly sourced coffee beans.”

Roos says all their coffee can be traced back to the respective/identifiable group of supplying farmers – verified or certified by independent organisations. The beans used in NESCAFÉ Ricoffy coffee are grown in Brazil.

Nestlé is committed to implementing responsible sourcing practices and to continuously improving its its coffee supply chain. This commitment is brought to life by understanding that the heart of good food is the quality of the ingredients, the people who produce them and the soils and ecosystems in which they are grown, states Roos.

Responsible sourcing

Roos says that in the future, sustainability will no longer be a nice to have. “In a rapidly changing world, where sustainability challenges such as climate change, plastic pollution and ecological degradation as a result of industrial activity continue to rise, companies addressing these challenges will be a key component of resilient and successful businesses. Therefore, for sustainability efforts to thrive, sustainability needs to be at the forefront of business strategy.”

It is with this in mind that 10 years ago, Nestlé launched the NESCAFÉ Plan – the largest coffee sustainability programme in the world, offering support for farmers and compliance with the Responsible Sourcing Guideline.

She explains that the NESCAFÉ Plan was launched to ensure that the farming and production of coffee for NESCAFÉ is more sustainable, and improves the lives of farmers, as well as the economic and social development of their communities.

“Working towards 100% responsibly sourced beans for NESCAFÉ Ricoffy coffee was always part of the plan with the objective to reaching this milestone by 2020, which we are proud to have achieved,” points out Roos.

Image by Unsplash

According to Roos, the NESCAFÉ Plan is a tangible effort of how they create shared value in the coffee sector for farmers, communities, the planet and the brand’s commitment to continuously support responsible and increasingly sustainable value chains.

The plan has three platforms. These are respecting farmers, respecting communities and respecting the planet, with the objective of contributing positively towards the future of great quality coffee.

Click here to watch the media launch in March 2021.

Interesting facts about coffee beans:

Image by Unsplash
  • The beans are grown in trees.
  • When coffee trees get old and tired, they can be revived by cutting them right back to the stump. This makes the trees grow back stronger.
  • Growing often occurs in water-poor areas. Nestlé assists its farmers to be water efficient.
  • Trees need grass to protect them from the sun. Grass keeps the trees cool, moist and prevents the spread of pesky weeds, so lessening the need to use artificial herbicide.  This is called microshading, and is a part of the Nestlé mission to inspire farmers to use natural innovations on their farms whenever they can.
  • Beans need drying after being harvested as this makes them last longer.
  • Farmers sometimes plant other things, such as betel nut, durian, peppers, chillies and avocados on their farms because agricultural biodiversity is vital for a flourishing countryside.  A greater variety of trees attracts more insects, which not only pollinate coffee plants and other trees, but also support more bird and animal life.
  • Nestlé is constantly breeding better, climate-resistant trees with even more flavoursome beans. It takes 15–20 years to perfect, test and release each new variety. 

Edited by Gudrun Kaiser

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Safrea or its members.


6 Responses

  1. I enjoyed this article , thanks Denise. I’m amazed that it takes “15 to 20 years to perfect, test, and release each new variety”. I guess, good things are certainly worth waiting for in this regard ☕️ 👍🏻

    1. Thanks Delilah, I was equally amazed, and not being much of a coffee drinker myself, I had no idea of how these beans are grown and sourced. I enjoyed learning through writing this article.

  2. Interesting Denise. For my palate, Ricoffy is among the worst. More importantly, the article paints a nice picture of Nestle as a caring company. There is strong evidence that the opposite is true. Look at their deplorable record regarding baby food and breast feeding. Especially in Africa. Selling bottled water from a municipal source (ie tap water). Wanting to own natural water sources and supply. Not a nice corporate giant. The problem is, as it is with several huge international conglomerates, that their product reach is so wide that they are virtually impossible to boycott.

    1. I thought as much, although, I am not much of a coffee drinker. I focused on the sustainable angle with regards to the sourcing of coffee beans. Unfortunately the company will forever be tainted by that incident.

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