Nestlé invests US$80 million in decaffeinated coffee

Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke has opened a production plant for decaffeinated coffee in the Dong Nai province of South-East Vietnam, its first in Asia. The new factory, which cost US$80 million, will decaffeinate green coffee beans for use as raw materials in Nestlé’s coffee factories around the world. The factory will source Robusta green coffee beans exclusively from Vietnam and use a water-based process to extract caffeine from the beans. Nestlé said the natural extraction process enables the decaffeinated coffee beans to retain the same taste as caffeinated ones with minimal environmental impact. “This factory illustrates our deep trust in a country where we have had successful operations for over 20 years and where we are committed to continue to create shared value for its communities, its coffee farmers and its consumers,” said Bulcke, in a statement. Nestlé currently purchases between 20 – 25 per cent of Vietnam’s green coffee exports every year for the production of both caffeinated and decaffeinated Nescafé. The company said its latest investment in Vietnam is part of the Nescafé Plan. Launched in 2011, Nestlé is investing more than US$360 million in the global initiative, which aims to help coffee farmers across 14 countries improve their living and working conditions, and reduce their environmental footprint. As part of the plan, Nestlé said in 2011 that all directly purchased green coffee would be compliant with the Common Code for the Coffee Community (4C) sustainability standards by 2015. The proposal also outlines Nestlé’s plan to source 90,000 tonnes of Nescafé coffee according to Rainforest Alliance principles by 2020. The 4C provides baseline criteria for farmers toward sustainability. The more advanced criteria, called the Sustainable Agriculture Network standard, focuses on environmental protection, social responsibility and economic viability. “We have worked together on coffee farms with the Rainforest Alliance for more than a decade to define advanced farm management practices and improve the livelihoods of farmers,” said Nestlé. “We agree that in order to make their operations more socially and environmentally responsible, and make coffee farming an attractive business, farmers must conserve natural resources, protect ecosystems, ensure rights and benefits to workers, increase yields, control costs, improve quality and diversify.”

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