The International Finance Corporation and Nespresso on Thursday announced a new partnership to promote more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive livelihoods for coffee-growing communities in Africa while preserving some of the world’s rarest coffee varieties.
The partnership features a US$4.1 million investment by IFC in the not-for-profit Nespresso Sustainability Innovation Fund. Nespresso and IFC will also support coffee farmers as they transition to regenerative agriculture, which reduces carbon emissions, promotes nature-based solutions, and improves livelihoods of smallholder farmers. The partnership was announced at the annual meeting of the Nespresso Sustainability advisory board in October.
This program will start working with an initial cohort of around 2,000 farmers in Uganda and Zimbabwe, where Nespresso has its Reviving Origins program, with the opportunity to expand to other countries in Africa. IFC and Nespresso are both committed to gender diversity and inclusion, and the program will also seek to address gender gaps in coffee production by helping women coffee growers better access the resources and knowledge they need to thrive.
“We are building on our work with IFC in improving the livelihoods of smallholders in Africa through the transition to regenerative farming practices, with a specific focus on gender equality and inclusion,” said Guillaume Le Cunff, CEO of Nespresso. “Together with IFC, we can really create transformative community-level projects within our Reviving Origins program.”
Nespresso’s sustainability efforts under its Reviving Origins program seek to help coffee-growing regions affected by a wide range of adversities such as conflict, protracted economic hardship, and environmental disasters. The Nespresso Sustainability Innovation Fund works to help restart local economies, protect endangered coffee varieties, and enable its growers to meet sustainability requirements laid out under Nespresso’s AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program.
“Supporting and strengthening coffee-growing communities is essential, especially given the stresses placed on growers by climate change,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director. “We are convinced that blended investments and partnerships between the private sector and development institutions are critical to accelerate and scale the transition to regenerative, low carbon coffee cultivation that delivers better livelihoods for farmers.”
In 2016, IFC and the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes provided $6 million in financing to the Nespresso Sustainability Innovation Fund, supporting the company’s efforts to improve the climate resilience and productivity of smallholder coffee growers in Ethiopia and Kenya. The program served as a proof of concept for ways to help women farmers play a more central role in sustainable coffee production.