Nestlé to Launch Fairtrade Coffee in U.K.

Nestlé to Launch Fairtrade Coffee in U.K.

Nestlé is to launch a Fairtrade certified coffee in a new sustainability initiative for smallholder coffee farmers. Nescafé Partners Blend is a soluble, freeze-dried instant coffee and will be on sale in the U.K. from the middle of October.

Alastair Sykes, CEO of Nestlé U.K. and Ireland said: "Nestlé's long term commitment is to develop sustainable agricultural practices in order to help alleviate hardship and poverty among small coffee farmers.

"Increasingly our consumers expect us to bring this commitment to social responsibility alive in our brands and show them how farmers can be helped to have a better life. This means that we need to ensure that farmers in the developing world not only receive a fair price for their coffee, but that their sources of income are developed to support their families into the future in a manner that respects their lands and communities. These are issues that concern the consumer and which have led to increasing demand for Fairtrade products. We are therefore delighted to offer consumers a product carrying the approved Fairtrade mark."

Nescafé Partners Blend is made from 100% Arabica beans from El Salvador and Ethiopia. Nestlé research indicates that the product will appeal to a new consumer group that, while not currently regular purchases of Fairtrade coffee, are predisposed to fair trade and/or sustainable products.

Harriet Lamb, executive director of the Fairtrade Foundation, said "This is a turning point for Fairtrade in the U.K. -- the first time that one of the four major coffee roasters has taken its first step in response to rapidly growing consumer demand for products independently certified by the Fairtrade Mark. Our label is increasingly trusted by the public as the only independent guarantee that disadvantaged producers in developing countries have received a better deal. We expect the addition of Nescafé Partners' Blend to bring a new wave of coffee drinkers to Fairtrade, bringing more opportunities to more farmers in more countries."

Nestlé is the world's largest direct buyer of coffee and has been directly collaborating with coffee farmers for over 30 years -- since the first Nestlé coffee agronomist was hired to work in the field. In 2002 the company co-founded the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative and has been working closely with farmers to encourage and implement sustainable approaches to coffee growing. Over the years this work has evolved into a sustainable approach concentrating on three important areas -- economic, social and environmental.

Nestlé is now applying its lessons learned over the past 30 years in each of these three areas to help individual communities. Its farmer suppliers for Partners' Blend are all smallholders from El Salvador and Ethiopia who have been adversely affected by the regular fluctuations in coffee prices.

In El Salvador Nestlé is working with over 200 smallholders in four Fairtrade certified co-operatives to fortify their business and management skills and promote sustainable practices. In Ethiopia the company has now established a trading relationship with the Oromia Co-operative Union -- a longstanding and highly respected Fairtrade producer organization. It is also working on sustainability with farmers in the Hama area of Yirgacheffe and is exploring with the Fairtrade Foundation how these farmers might also achieve Fairtrade certification so that their beans can also be included in Nescafé Partners' Blend in the future.

The product is sourced according to internationally agreed criteria established by the Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International and the product has been approved to carrying the Fairtrade Mark which provides an independent assurance to consumers. This means the coffee comes from producer organizations that have been certified to Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards and that the traders involved in the supply chain have been registered with Fairtrade and agree to abide by its trading standards.

Fiona Kendrick, M.D., of Nestlé's beverage division commented: "Nestlé recognizes that Fairtrade has a useful role to play in helping smallholder producers cope in today's global economy. By joining forces we believe that we will help make a sustainable difference to our partner farmers.

"The model we developed is based on working with some of the smallest farmers to ensure they improve their incomes through having sustainable businesses. However we recognise that stability of income is needed to help them address immediate issues as well as plan for the future." Nescafé Partners' Blend will retail at approximately GBP2.69 per 100g and will be available at all major retailers. It will also be available in out-of-home channels including the education, government and leisure sectors.

Further information is available online.