IN CONVERSATION WITH : MITCH MONAGHAN, NESPRESSO COFFEE AMBASSADOR
Some of you may not know just how much Nespresso are committed to sustainability and ethical philosophies. This is why we have grown to love and respect the brand so much. We pinned Mitch Monaghan (Nespresso's very first Coffee Ambassador), down for an interview in our 2018 Annual, and got some insider knowledge on how this household brand is making a big difference when it comes to empowerment, farming and education.
[TLSE] Since its origins in 1986, Nespresso has grown rapidly to become the successful business it is today. How does Nespresso continue to ensure customer pleasure?
[MITCH] We know Australians are looking for diverse choice, personalisation and convenience more than ever before. To meet this demand, the quality and variety offered through the Nespresso machine range continues to grow as we aim to offer machines that suit every different taste and preference. If you like a barista-style espresso coffee, you are sure to find something that suits your home in the Original range. Or, if you prefer a larger mug of coffee or like to change up your coffee order regularly, we have the VERTUO machine which can make a five different cup sizes depending on your mood.
How extensive is Nespresso’s commitment to sustainability?
At Nespresso, sustainability is a commitment we have made and an imperative component of our business, not just here in Australia, but globally. Sustainability is embedded into every aspect of the Nespresso business, improving our environmental performance across all areas, from coffee farming and machine use, to business operations and capsule recycling.
Back in 2003, we launched the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program together with the Rainforest Alliance.
As well as ensuring the supply of the highest quality coffee, the program helps protect the environment where it is sourced and improve the livelihoods of the coffee farmers and their families.
To achieve this, Nespresso establishes long-term direct partnerships with the coffee farmers in the program, helping them not only implement sustainable farming practices, but also improve quality and productivity through training, technical assistance and direct investment. As of 2017, over 90% of the coffee Nespresso sourced has been from AAA farms, with over 75,000 farmers in 12 countries participating in the program.
For us here in Australia, our ambition is to ensure that regardless of where you live in Australia, you have an option to recycle your used Nespresso capsules. Despite facing challenges, such as Australia’s domestic recycling system being unable to process our capsules, we have come a long way in achieving our goal. We want our recycling program to be as convenient as possible so that our customers can help contribute towards creating a sustainable future. We have a network of over 22,000 collection points to choose from: you can participate in a bulk collection recycling initiative where any workplace, business or community location can become a recycling point, return them to a Nespresso Boutique or florist collection point or you can post your used capsules back to us using a special Australia Post satchel.
Nespresso prides themselves on working with international farmers for the perfect coffee bean. Why is it so important to Nespresso to work closely with farmers internationally?
We believe that the best way to protect the supply of Nespresso coffee is to ensure the protection of the environment where our coffee is grown and to provide a more sustainable and equitable outcome for farmers and their future generations.
Tell us how the ‘AAA Future Farmers’ project makes a difference by empowering women in Ethiopia to become agronomists?
The Nespresso AAA Program encourages farmers to learn sustainable quality practices which are necessary to build an economically viable coffee farming business. In many countries, like Ethiopia, women are significantly involved in coffee production. It is therefore crucial for them to have access to the knowledge delivered by the AAA agronomists and trainers. By increasing women’s participation and learning, the program can positively impact the sustainability of coffee quality and coffee sourcing.
One concrete example is working with more female agronomists. In many countries, women did not apply for open agronomist roles, as they did not feel qualified for the responsibilities. Simply by changing the way recruitment is approached, and advertising a several-day training course instead of a job offer, we observed a significant increase in women’s interest and attendance. At the end of the training course, we could select the best performing candidates for the job, significantly increasing the number of women agronomists in the AAA Program. Women now represent 31% of the 441 agronomists working with coffee farmers in 12 countries worldwide through the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program.
What’s next for Nespresso; where do you see the business growing in years to come? We have noticed a continued trend towards sustainable coffee options. Not only are Australians more educated on the variety of coffee solutions that are available to them, but they are actively looking for one that personally suits their tastes and preferences meaning they are making more conscious purchase decisions. In a recent survey, we found that Australians are 72% more likely to purchase a product from a company investing in the livelihoods of its producers while 62% of Australians would switch to a more sustainable coffee option if it was an easy switch.*
While We have made a lot of progress in the choices we make to ensure a sustainable cup of coffee we also know there is a lot more we can do, particularly locally, in regards to recycling. We are constantly looking for ways to innovate and evolve our program to extend its reach. We are now looking at how we measure and encourage greater recycling interest and action by continuously improving the convenience of recycling used Nespresso capsules. Making it easier for people to recycle and motivating them to do so are our priorities.
What does your job as Nespresso Coffee Ambassador entail? And how does one get to be where you are today!!
As a Nespresso Coffee Ambassador, I represent Australia and New Zealand amongst a group of 30 ambassadors from around the world. As a part of that role, I am responsible for teaching Nespresso Coffee Experts in our boutiques all there is to know about coffee. This spans from the way that Nespresso sources and makes it, to how it can be made sustainably, and all the ways it can be used and enjoyed.
Before I joined Nespresso, I used to recruit for the brand’s customer service team. Two months into the role, Nespresso became my favourite client.
Aside from the coffee we’d drink during onsite meetings, every person I placed with Nespresso had only positive and wonderful things to say about the brand and the culture. When the opportunity arose for a role as Nespresso Training Specialist in 2011, I jumped at it and seven years later, I’m working with some of the most talented people I’ve ever met who share my passion for coffee and sustainability.
*Research conducted across Australia by YouGov in 2018 on 1,019 adult participants.
It's not too late to order your print copy of our 2018 Annual Magazine, here.
Or for the digitally inclined, you can find an online version, here.
For more on Nespresso and their sustainable initiatives, click on the links below.