How we do business

Our Business Principles



At Nespresso, we promise consumers the finest coffee in the world that preserves the best of our world. We believe coffee can be a force for good because it can shape communities and preserve landscapes, creating positive impact for the lives of people and the wider environment.

If we are to be successful – not only as a business, but in delivering on this promise – we know we must earn the trust and respect of our people, our customers, our suppliers and wider society.

That’s why we run our business based on a set of business principles and core values.

From how we run our factories, to how we work with coffee farmers and communicate with our customers, we are committed to always acting with integrity, honesty, respect, fair dealing and in full compliance with all applicable laws.

All of our employees are bound by the standards set out by our parent company in the Nestlé Corporate Business Principles and the Nestlé Code of Business Conduct. They are also bound to respect local legislation, cultural and religious practices.

By adhering to our business principles and core values, we can build a sustainable business that is respected and trusted to do what is right for our people, the farmers we work with, our customers and the environment.



We strongly believe that our long-term success demands that we not only fully comply with all legal requirements, but that we also operate sustainably and create shared value.

Going beyond compliance, we have adopted the Nestlé’s approach of Creating Shared Value and always strive to create value and benefit not only for our business but also for customers, coffee farmers, suppliers, shareholders and wider society too.

The Nespresso Positive Cup strategy is how we put Creating Shared Value in action. It’s a unique holistic approach to sustainability and our way of doing business.



A set of rigorous standards underpin our approach to creating shared value across our coffee supply chain. The Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program is our unique sourcing model through which we build direct relationships with farmers to ensure we deliver the very best, high-quality sustainable coffee. It is a program developed in collaboration with our NGO partner the Rainforest Alliance. Its environmental and social criteria are based on the Rainforest Alliance standards in compliance with the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Coffee suppliers must adhere to the Nestlé principles and supplier code. There is also a set of AAA standards that farmers need to abide by too. Both suppliers and farmers must enter into a shared commitment to continuously improve their sustainability performance, something that is supported by the Nestlé Corporate Business Principles. and the Nestlé Responsible Sourcing Standard.


There are 39 core AAA standards in total, 13 of which cover environmental and social topics specifically, such as water use, soil conservation, occupational safety and fair treatment of workers. All 39 standards must be reached within three years of working with Nespresso.

In selecting the farmers we work with we make sure they can provide us with the exact quality and aroma profile of the coffee that we expect. However, there are three non-negotiable pre-requisites that a farm must deliver before they can join the AAA Program:

  • no child labor;
  • no forced labor; and
  • no harassment and abuse of workers.

These three criteria are reviewed before a farm can join the AAA Program, and farmers understand that we will exclude them from the Program if they are ever found to be in breach of these standards.

Over 400 dedicated agronomists are out in the fields, working with more than 120,000 AAA farmers in 15 countries to help them adopt more sustainable farming practices, and giving them the tools and training to improve the quality and productivity of their farms.

Once farmers have achieved the 39 core criteria, they can work on more advanced modules to continue to improve practices on the farm based on their farm’s specific needs.

This focus on continuous improvement works. By producing higher quality, sustainable coffee, farmers earn a premium. Their income improves year-on-year as their productivity increases, the environment continues to be protected, and social issues are improved.




The responsibilities and expected actions for Nespresso, and all of the stakeholders responsible for implementing the Program, are outlined in the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program Shared Commitment.

These are used as a set of practical guidelines to help farmers and coffee suppliers be consistent when it comes to working with integrity in our coffee supply chain.

All of the farms taking part in our AAA Program are visited at least once a year by our team of agronomists. They are reviewed against our criteria and offered specific advice and support to make improvements.

Compliance with our standards is verified by an independent third party who visits a sample of farms every year. Many of the farmers we work with have also been certified by Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade International, who also run their specific audits as part of their certifications.




Creating shared value means working closely with partners to truly understand where and how we can create the greatest positive impact.

We work with more than 50 partners who help to enhance and support the AAA Program and the work we do daily in coffee farms to reinforce good farming practices and fair treatment of workers. These include the Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, Pur Projet, TechnoServe and the Sustainable Agriculture Network among many others.

We co-created the AAA Program with the NGO the Rainforest Alliance, combining our coffee expertise with their sustainable farming know-how, back in 2003 to preserve the future of high-quality coffees, while preserving the environment and enhancing farmer welfare. Our holistic approach to sustainable coffee sourcing is embedded directly in our business model, leveraging direct relationships with farmers to drive positive impact.


We have worked with Fairtrade International since 2014 build relevant and impactful projects to secure and safeguard farmers’ welfare and income, going beyond sole certification.

We also work with Fair Labor Association (FLA) to develop and monitor AAA Program policies on child labor and workers’ working conditions, helping to strengthen our approach to human rights in our supply chain. The AAA Program is reviewed against FLA Principles of Fair Labor and Responsible Sourcing for the Agricultural Sector, which are aligned with the most relevant international due diligence frameworks and guidelines.