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Q&A

You want to get some more information on our
actions and how we act responsibly? In this
section we have prepared a few answers for you.

1. Why did you choose Rainforest Alliance and follow the 4C initiative over other NGO partners and international coffee or Fairtrade initiatives?

Our responsible farming approach is open and inclusive. We are partnering with Rainforest Alliance and are founding members of 4C because as organisations we share the same commitment to agricultural excellence and mainstream sustainability in coffee; focussing specifically on continuous improvement. This does not preclude other partnerships with NGOs who share our ambition for the coffee sector. Both organisations work towards improving the social, environmental and economic conditions of farmers.

2. How do you work concretely on the field and how do you make sure these initiatives benefit to farmers?

In the field, our network of agronomists and trade partners are helping farmers and cooperatives to implement 4C criteria and farming projects. Our plan focus on improving farmer income through good agricultural practices and renovated coffee trees, which lead to higher yield on the same amount of land, lower overall costs and diversified sources of revenue. This approach is coupled with training in how to optimize quantity and quality and further leveraged by our direct procurement activities. That said, we aim to focus on creating shared value in the long-term, not just to help farmers “make more money” in the short-term.

3. Are the minimum incomes from plants, which you source your coffee from, controlled and tracked? And what are the sanctions in place in case of any deviations from the rules?

As part of our responsible farming approach, we committed to comply to the 4C standard. The 4C code of Conduct includes fair incomes for the coffee farmers. The association has developed a credible, efficient and independent verification system and helps 4C Units (producer groups) evaluate where they are in implementation of the 4C Code of Conduct. In case of deviation the 4C license will not be delivered.

4. Do you use GM technology or cloning to create plants?

We do not use GM technology or cloning to create plants. Our scientists at R&D Tours are pioneering research into varieties that can potentially triple or even quadruple yields when properly grown. Plants are propagated through a method called somatic embryogenesis which is an accelerated method of reproducing large numbers of high-potential plantlets. As opposed to normal propagation techniques, the produced plants are better structured, more uniform and more vigorous, despite not having undergone any genetic modification. Plants have been doing this naturally for thousands of years. For example, potatoes produce shoots that grow into new, identical plants.

5. Where are the machines and their components manufactured? Do you use supply chains in the developing world e.g. Asia? Have the labour conditions in all the factories in your supply chain been audited against international standards?

NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® machines are made in China and the manufacturer has acknowledged Nestlé’s Supplier Code and is in compliance with local regulations. This Code is complemented by Responsible Sourcing Guidelines, which are aligned with or go beyond internationally-recognised responsible production standards. Furthermore more than 75% of our suppliers are certified and audited SMETA (Sedex Member Ethical Trade Audit). We plan to audit the missing suppliers by 2014.

6. Why do you use plastic for these capsules and not recyclable material (such as aluminium) or biodegradable one?

First, certain types of plastics are actually recycled, eg PET from beverage bottles. When creating our capsules, all kind of material were considered as the environmental performance of materials depends on their application. NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® capsule is made from high-quality plastic materials that are able to perform well with the pressure generated by the machine (max. 15 bars). For example, to resist to this pressure paper is not suitable. The technology we use allows also long cups to be brewed. Biodegradable materials were also considered but today – considering NESCAFE Dolce Gusto shape and size, biodegradable materials would not be suitable looking at environmental impacts throughout the life cycle. Furthermore we are avoiding overwrapping for every capsule. Made of plastic, the capsule is perfectly tight to light and oxygen and ensures an optimal preservation of product aromas. Moreover, energy recovery of used capsules allows to take advantage of the plastic caloric value and save oil.

7. Why NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® capsules are not recycled in some countries?

NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® capsules cannot currently be recycled in some countries because of the lack of proper infrastructure. To overcome this, we implemented a capsule collection process in Portugal and we recycle the round plastic coming from the capsules to build urban furniture and valorise coffee grounds for composting. In order to extend this approach, we have started to develop our own collection and recycling solutions specifically dedicated to this purpose also in other countries. Besides, energy recovery of used capsules is also a valid end-of-life option as it allows to take advantage of the plastic calorific value and save oil.