Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program


To fulfil the promise to consumers, Nespresso depends on a reliable source of the highest quality coffee. Working closely with farmers, cooperatives and other partners is the only way to strengthen the resilience of coffee producing regions and communities – especially to economic uncertainties, social inclusion and climate change. The Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program has been designed and launched in 2003 in collaboration with the Rainforest alliance.  Through long-standing partnerships with farmers, coffee suppliers, and cooperatives, and with support from NGOs, it promotes the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices on the farm and landscape levels as well as improves the productivity and quality of harvests. Since 2014, the program has also aimed at innovating solutions for broader systemic challenges faced by the farming communities, such as climate change and price volatility. The benefits for producers are multiple: technical assistance, training, premium on quality, and inclusion in co-financed projects such as retirement savings plans and agroforestry. Thanks to the network of more than 400 agronomists, the program covers more than 110,000 producers in 16 countries. In 2019, around 40 MCHF have been invested in the program (technical assistance, premium and interventions).


Over the past 10 years we have worked with several donors like World Bank/IFC, USAID, IDH, Colombian and Dutch governments.

The Program is implemented together with a range of partners amongst others: Rainforest Alliance, FairTrade International, Fairtrade USA, IUCN, Pur Project, Fair Labor Association, Farmers associations and cooperatives, academics. It has been included in many multistakeholder initiatives (Manos al agua in Colombia, Cerrado das Aguas in Brazil, Verité COFFEE project, …)

Key activities:

Activities are designed to deliver farmers’ resilience, assets and better manage the drivers of income.

  • Sourcing and physical/financial traceability of the coffee purchase: Farmers engaged in the AAA Program receive a premium for the volume of coffee sold at quality
  • Training and Technical Assistance for the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices (Economic, Social, Environmental), as well as quality – Productivity
  • Interventions: Additional investment into projects initiatives to drive transformational changes such as the transition of coffee farms into Agroforestry models, water stewardship and water potabilization, gender equality initiative, …

Signature projects/tools:

  • Reach: the program covers 16 countries, more than 110,000 farmers and 300,000 ha of land
  • 95% of Nespresso coffee volume is sourced via the AAA Program, 56% comes from certified farms
  • 4.5 million trees planted (timber, fruit and shade trees) on farm or in the surrounding landscape as part of the Agroforestry initiative
  • Investments into reviving origins, origins exposed to political unrest or climatic disaster: Zimbabwe, Congo, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Caqueta (peace process in Colombia)
  • Social initiatives: The farmer retirement savings plan launched in Colombia together with Fairtrade and the Colombian government, the crop insurance scheme piloted in Colombia, the Gender Equality program launched with an agronomist training curriculum in partnership with KIT

Priority countries and corresponding areas of activities

In 2020, the program covers 16 countries: Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Puerto Rico, Cuba.