Boosting the benefits of aluminium at Nespresso


Aluminium does much more than just protect your Grand Crus. It is infinitely recyclable, and can also help preserve the environment.

This is why Nespresso has made sustainable sourcing a central element of its commitment known as the Positive Cup.

A simple touch of the finger and your Grand Cru releases its unique aromas, while the empty capsule drops into the dedicated container. Is it unusable forever? Actually no. It is more likely that the used capsule is setting off on a new adventure. A bike, a car, an airplane – who knows what form aluminium will take in its next life?

Nespresso makes this message clear in its upcoming advertising campaign. This capsule is not just trash by any means; it is designed from a raw material of inestimable value, one that is recyclable.


Advantages of aluminium

Aluminium, one of the most used materials in the industrial world, has the advantage of being very lightweight.

Using it,  therefore helps to reduce the environmental footprint related to goods transport. Now more than ever, recycling aluminium is a key factor in avoiding overexploitation of the planet’s resources.

At Nespresso, aluminium is like a gleaming thread woven throughout our history. It encases our Grand Crus because it is remarkably airtight. Used as both armour and as a container, the capsule protects the ground coffee from oxygen, moisture, heat and light. Protecting against natural elements, this casing is the steward of a Grand Cru’s aromatic richness, for optimal pleasure once in the cup.

Aluminium is also used as the material best suited to the sophisticated technology of Nespresso machines.

Since its initial extraction is costly in both energy and resources, Nespresso recognises the need to make the most of aluminium’s fabulous recyclability potential: once this material is recovered and melted, it regains its original characteristics.


Aluminium recycling targets at Nespresso

Nespresso has been committed to facilitating capsule recycling since the early 1990s.

Through lengthy, persistent efforts, initially at the European level, then worldwide, the brand has managed to put in place and expand enough viable collection channels to exceed the goal it set in 2013.

By the end of 2015, Nespresso’s collection capacity had surpassed 86% through more than 14,000 dedicated collection points in 36 countries (+ over 80,000 UPS points in the US + over 6,000 Green Dot collection points in 3 countries). Each of these countries requires a specific recycling system.


Sustainably sourced aluminium

Recycling aluminium saves 95% of the energy required in the initial production phase. This is why, in the late 1990s, Nespresso decided to focus on two strategic areas related to aluminium.

Downstream, the brand is educating its customers about the ecological benefits of returning used capsules.

Simultaneously, Nespresso is increasing its collection capacities to accept capsules sold worldwide for recycling. By late 2015, this capacity had surpassed 86%.

Upstream – which is often unknown to the general public – Nespresso is committed to ensuring the aluminium it uses is totally sustainably sourced. The brand must be able to ‘trace’ the origin of the aluminium it purchases, how it is produced, used and recycled.


Sustainable collaboration

For the past few years, to hold the industry more accountable and make it more transparent, the brand has been working with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the leading global consortium dedicated to nature conservation. It is a union of several states, more than 1,000 non-governmental organizations and about 11,000 scientists and experts working in 160 countries.

Alongside Nespresso, the organisation has paved the way for wholly pioneering perspectives to ultimately create the first sustainable aluminium standard.

“As our company relies extensively on the qualities of aluminium to protect the freshness and aroma of our high-quality coffees, we believe that these new standards will ensure greater transparency in the dedicated supply chain,” said Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nestlé Nespresso SA. “This will have positive consequences for consumers, businesses and the environment,” he added.


New goals

The Positive Cup sustainability programme has set a new corporate target. By 2020, Nespresso aims to have a collection capacity of 100%.

In 2015, Nespresso intends to launched trials for the current capsule-to-capsule programme.

The end result means recycling used capsules into new ones, an important achievement from an environmental perspective.


First sustainable standard

The proposal quickly began turning heads of a number of industry leaders, who joined forces in 2012 to create a multi-partisan platform called the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI).

By late 2014, their efforts had paid off. The world’s first sustainable aluminium standard was created, with the support of the IUCN.

This ASI Performance Standard now determines the ethical and environmental performance criteria applicable in every step of the supply chain.

An increasing number of companies are now adopting its guidelines: major automakers, packaging producers and members of the aeronautics industry are all eager to take part in improving the sector’s performance.


2020 target

This positive enthusiasm is aligned with Nespresso’s objectives. The brand aims to have 100% sustainably sourced aluminium by 2020, one of the three key commitments of the Positive Cup.

Today, Nespresso’s aim guides its assessment of every sourcing partnership to ensure that it collaborates only with companies applying this stringent standard. This is a tangible way of promoting both the new ASI Performance Standard and sustainably sourced aluminium.


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