Coffee-drinkers rejoice! Coffee giant Nespresso has this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Anglo-Australian metals and mining megalith Rio Tinto to use the world’s first responsibly-sourced aluminum for its coffee pods.
The coffee revolution is, to many people, far more important than any energy revolution they may or may not have heard about. Say goodbye to instant or plunger coffee, and don’t worry about those fussy, expert-level coffee machines that require a barista’s degree to operate to any degree of efficiency. Enjoy the taste of cafe-style coffee in your own kitchen.
Or, so the advertising goes. No doubt there is an argument to be had — and, in all likelihood, I live in the home-town of the world’s snobbiest of coffee-snobs; Melbourne, Australia — as to the validity of the claims being made about the efficacy of the quality of coffee produced by the array of coffee pods now sweeping the coffee aisles. What cannot be argued, however, is just how popular coffee pods have become around the world.
Good news, then, for those who occupy the Venn diagram of coffee-lovers and the environmentally conscious, as Swiss coffee giant Nespresso announced this week that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Anglo-Australian metals and mining behemoth Rio Tinto to begin using responsibly-sourced aluminum to produce its coffee pods.
Specifically, the two leaders’ of their respective industries will work together with Nespresso’s capsule manufacturers to fulfill a commitment of sourcing 100% sustainable aluminum by 2020. The two companies will make use of the Certified Aluminium standard awarded by the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) — a global, multi-stakeholder, non-profit standards-setting, and certification organization.
Specifically, the ASI standard sets out ways to promote the protection of biodiversity, respect for indigenous people’s rights, water management, and low-carbon emissions during the production of aluminum. The ASI’s Chain of Custody Standard serves to build a traceability mechanism which provides end-users like Nespresso with proof and confidence that the aluminum that they buy has been manufactured by ASI-Certified producers at each stage of the process.
“This as an important step towards the use of responsibly sourced aluminium across manufacturing industries, which Rio Tinto is the first to supply,” said Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios. “We expect the demand from consumers for sustainable products to continue growing and Nespresso drinkers can have confidence the aluminium we supply for their capsules meets the highest international standards.”
What’s even more impressive is that the smelters in Canada who will be supplying the aluminum for Nespresso are powered 100% by hydropower, producing some of the highest-quality and lowest-carbon footprint aluminum in the world.
“Nespresso is proud to have been a driving force in creating and implementing the ASI,” added Nespresso CEO Jean-Marc Duvoisin. “Together we have made responsibly-sourced aluminium a reality, and the ASI traceability mechanism will enable us to meet our commitment to customers to reduce the impact of their consumption. This is a positive step towards creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.”
“Aluminium is a key part of our daily lives: from cars and planes to cell phones, buildings and food packaging,” said ASI chief executive officer Fiona Solomon. “Until now, there has never been a comprehensive global standard for its responsible sourcing and production. Now companies in the aluminium value chain who wish to demonstrate responsible practices can take the ASI standards forward to their customers, who can, in turn, be confident that this represents the highest environmental, social and governance standards.”
The move also serves to cement the companies’ positions as global leaders in sustainability.
“There is a growing market for transparency and assurance in the supply chain of raw materials and this certification demonstrates our commitment to good social and environmental practice,” said Alf Barrios. “It makes good commercial sense to do this. It benefits the industry’s reputation and ensures a sustainable future for the industry, it increases the consumer awareness of sustainable sourcing and creates market differentiation for our products.”
“For Nespresso, it’s important to be a leader in sustainability,” added Katherine Graham, Nespresso’s Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager. “Being a coffee company gives us many opportunities to create value for farmers, and producing capsules in aluminium gives us opportunities to be a pioneer in sustainable sourcing and recycling. We’re happy to be a driver of positive change that other companies can learn and benefit from, because more sustainable consumption is good for all of us – as businesses and consumers.”
Photo of cocoa beans via Pixabay (public domain)