Nestle has a new program offering cash incentives to coffee farmers who use eco-friendly methods to grow their crops, Reuters reported.
The problem is so severe that the EU recently adopted a law banning products produced through deforestation, including coffee.
Until now, making sure their coffee comes from eco-friendly sources was optional for companies, Reuters said. But thanks to the new law along with growing public pressure, many companies are taking a closer look at their supply chains.
Nestle is one of the big names in this effort. According to Reuters, the company has pledged to spend $1 billion by 2030 on making its coffee supply chain sustainable — meaning that growers can produce it without damaging the environment.
To achieve that, Reuters said Nestle is encouraging 3,000 farmers to adopt new methods. They’ve been asked to use organic fertilizer, as well as planting other crops and trees in between the coffee plants, which helps preserve a more natural habitat for local wildlife.
Crucially, Nestle is offering cash incentives to farmers that meet these conditions, Reuters said. This is important because, in the past, growers were unable to afford more eco-friendly growing methods since harsher methods are cheaper and more profitable.
According to Reuters, countries that produce coffee beans receive less than 10% of the $200-$250 billion that the coffee sector earns each year — and only a small portion of that goes to the actual farmers. It added that about 80% of coffee-farming families worldwide live in poverty, around 100 million people in total.
Now, Nestle may be beginning to change that. Environmental group Rainforest Alliance, which has studied Nestle’s impact, said in a press release on Nestle’s website, “We have observed encouraging trends, including improved incomes in some countries, and increased adoption of important regenerative practices.”
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