Connected Coffee Farms

The Nespresso Sustainability Challenge

When the Nespresso team and HENRi launched the Nespresso Sustainability Experience project in July 2016, we had a very clear goal. We wanted to bring the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program to life, showing how these initiatives benefit farmers, communities and consumers. We hoped that by doing so, we’d be able to engage with consumers and encourage participation.

Dozens of high-quality applications were received and five pitches were held in December 2016, with IPG Labs subsequently selected as the partner to help get the project off the ground. As the project developed, US-based startup Kakaxi was brought on board as the third piece in the puzzle. In September 2017, the project launched.

Together, the three parties aimed to provide consumers with a direct connection to the farms where our coffee is grown. And Kakaxi allowed us to do just that. We provided our agronomist network with smartphones and asked them to take photos of their surroundings. Using third parties, such as Google Maps and local photographers, we were able to gather content that would put consumers at the heart of our suppliers’ worlds. Kakaxi, which allows video to be streamed via SIM card, gave us the icing on the cake: live feeds within farms, available to anyone.

And Connected Farms is now live! Through an online portal, Nestlé markets can access Instagram pictures, information on the AAA plan and Kakaxi data and timelapses from three Nespresso farms. More specifically, we follow the journeys of our three partner farmers: Humberto Galeano, María Cecilia Fallas and Inocencio Hernandez.

That information is then shared on nespresso.com pages and/or displayed on boutique screens around the world. The best content is taken and used on corporate social media channels, all with the ambition of creating a long-term bond between the brand and consumers, and an awareness and appreciation for Nestlé’s sustainability efforts.

This early example of how digital innovation can be used to complement our sustainability initiatives has already inspired others around the business, with KitKat launching a similar project in October 2017.

And the open innovation model has proved itself again as a way to get these projects off the ground and to make them a reality. Speaking about the energy and momentum behind the initiative, project owner Vincent Leroudier, Digital Communication Manager for Nespresso, said: “Without HENRi the project would still be in the drawer. But open innovation allowed us to motivate everyone and work in the same direction – the team and especially the management. It created a banner than everyone could follow.”

Speaking about the wider benefit, he added: “The biggest innovation to come out of this is for Nestlé – a massive company – is to work with individual photographers and small startups. That’s a huge innovation for us.”