Nespresso pods ‘infinitely recyclable’

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NESPRESSO is kicking off a “new era” of advertising focusing on “sustainability”, with long-time ambassador George Clooney taking a back seat to the real faces of the 70,000 farmers who supply the coffee pod giant.

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Recycling

NESPRESSO is kicking off a “new era” of advertising focusing on “sustainability”, with long-time ambassador George Clooney taking a back seat to the real faces of the 70,000 farmers who supply the coffee pod giant.

The new ad,

“The Choices We Make”

, is a marked shift away from the brand’s usual theme of premium exclusivity, instead profiling Colombian coffee farmer Humberto and highlighting Nespresso’s investment in

local coffee-growing communities

.

It comes as the company, which created the disposable coffee pod category in the late ‘90s, faces growing pressure from environmental groups over coffee pod waste and competition in the form of biodegradable alternatives.

“Australian consumers want more and more to know that the brands they buy are sustainable and the companies they buy from are doing the right thing,” said Loic Rethore, head of Oceania for Nespresso.

“That’s why we think that showing the impact of Nespresso’s sustainability program will make them value and understand what it takes to make every cup. This [ad campaign] is a continuation of our commitment to sustainability.”

Mr Rethore said while George Clooney would still be “part of our ecosystem”, the company had chosen to focus on what was happening in the countries of origin.

“There won’t be only one face, because there are so many people impacted by the choices Nespresso has made,” he said.

Australians churn through an estimated three million fresh ground coffee pods every day and around one third of consumers own a machine, according to market research firm Euromonitor, which forecasts revenue from coffee pod sales to grow by 13 per cent a year for the next five years — the strongest growth of all coffee categories.

“However ... the popularity of fresh ground coffee pods may be challenged by environmental concerns about their disposal,” Euromonitor analyst Sara Agostino writes.

“While Nespresso launched a more convenient recycling program in September 2016, selling prepaid Australia Post satchels for consumers to recycle up to 130 used pods at a time, other companies are still to introduce similar programs. This will become an important issue.”

Last year, former Nespresso chief executive Jean-Paul Gaillard warned the coffee pods could be contributing to a

global environmental disaster

, with billions of aluminium capsules ending up in landfills across the world each year.

“People shouldn’t sacrifice the environment for convenience,” he said.

Mr Gaillard is now the head of Ethical Coffee Company, a rival which makes fully biodegradable coffee capsules that break down within eight months.

“Competition is very natural, when a company starts to be successful it’s very normal, and different companies position themselves in different ways,” Mr Rethore said.

“We really believe at Nespresso that aluminium at this stage is the best material that combines two sets of qualities. First, it’s the best material to preserve the precious aromas of our coffees, and second, it’s infinitely recyclable.

“It’s one of the only materials like that. That’s actually the key message we want to communicate on, that Nespresso capsules are recyclable. We need to make sure we continue to remove the barriers to recycling and to convince our club members to recycle.”

In Australia, Nespresso has introduced four ways for consumers to return their used pods, which are recycled at a dedicated plant in Nowra.

“You can post your used capsules through our Australia Post satchels, we’re talking about almost 20,000 points of recycling across Australia,” Mr Rethore said.

“You can also bring the capsules back to our boutiques, or our network of close to 300 florist partners across Australia. We also have a bulk recycling program for either offices or community members to collect capsules and send them back to us.”

Nespresso refuses to disclose recycling figures, as they can be used to infer sales data, but Mr Rethore said the “early signs” were “quite positive”.

“It’s very early because we just relaunched recycling last year,” he said. “We have focused so much effort and resources to make this happen. In terms of measurement, we have not yet established a baseline.

“We are working with a third party in order to do that so we can report and measure, but the early signs are positive.”

Nestle holds 11.7 per cent market share of Australia’s $5.6 billion tea, coffee and other food manufacturing industry, according to IBISWorld, with revenue of $633.4 million in 2016, up 4 per cent on the previous year.

The market research firm says while Nestle’s revenue growth has underperformed the overall sector over the past five years as health-conscious consumers turn away from prepared meals, the rapidly growing Nespresso brand has offset declines in other areas of the business.

frank.chung@news.com.au

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