From bean to drink – turning coffee green

‘Ecosystems in Life Cycle Assessment to help businesses in their decision making process’, is just one of the many Knowledge Cafés taking place at the IUCN Congress, and it discussed how companies can understand the environmental performance of their products.

Working with key partners, Nespresso has built new milling facilities that bring coffee farmers together to improve the consistency of coffee quality and reduce the environmental impacts of coffee processing in Jardín, Colombia. Photo: © Nespresso

The Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) is used by companies to understand the environmental performance of their product throughout the full life cycle of a product, for example, from the farming of coffee beans to the moment it is poured into your cup. The LCA is mainly used to measure carbon footprint, but this tells just a small part of the story. It can also be used to assess biodiversity impacts throughout the value chain. However this is more complex, less known and still in its maturing phase.

Nespresso has a long tradition of using LCA to gauge the overall environmental impact of its products on climate change, energy, water, biodiversity and human health. Now that they have identified biodiversity as a risk and opportunity for a sustainable business, Nespresso is trying to find solutions to combine field knowledge into LCA to improve biodiversity model and results.

The strengths of LCA are that it covers the ecosystem impact of the whole supply chain, from producers to customers in a simplified but consistent way and delivers results in just two to three months rather than two to three years. It can also be adapted to specific business circumstances. And help businesses identify where to focus their efforts, uncovering unexpected impacts which might not have been focused on otherwise.

If you are at the Congress, visit the Nespresso booth next to the Exhibition Hall outside the conference centre to find out more. Or read more here

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