Nespresso just launched it’s new Nespresso Ecolaboration website where they tell us how green they are. Let’s have a closer look at the whole thing. The first time I saw the website, I wasn’t totally sure what to think? Were they totally green-washing me, or were they actually quite good at preserving the environment?
L’article en français est disponible
sur le site de Economie Magazine
The Coffee and the Rainforest Alliance
At the first glance, this looks like the really good point. But then you understand that for the moment only 50% of the coffee sold is certified by the Rainforest Alliance. Nespresso is hoping to reach 80% by 2013. It’s good but it’s not enough. And where is my 100% organic coffee? Why isn’t the production completely carbon neutral? Why isn’t the transport compensated with carbon reduction incentives?
The Aluminium capsules
Ecolaborations main argument is: We do use aluminum capsules and aluminum is easily recyclable. Ok, I’m fine with this. But let’s have a closer look at the numbers. Which amount of the capsules are actually recycled? In Switzerland it is 60% (PDF) . I couldn’t find the numbers for other countries, but it seems it is way less. Around 10% maybe, even less, if someone has the numbers, I’ll be glad to hear and post them.
Also this doesn’t involve the “professional capsule problem”. Because those ones, you can’t recycle them, they are made with an aluminum-plastic mix which doesn’t allow to separate the raw materials at a reasonable energetic price. So they all end up in the trash bin. Pretty bad…
Aluminium is cool, but I think organic fiber capsules would be better. You still could ship them in nice reusable aluminum boxes. Boxes you could fold and freely ship back, maybe even getting free capsules for your good action. Or at least, just giving an incentive by offering a free coffee for each 100gr of capsule brought back to a recycling point, would for sure help rising recycling percentage.
“For a machine left on for 12 hours, the energy consumption to keep the machine ready to use is 140 watts per hour (Wh) per day, which is equivalent to 30kg CO2e per year. “ Nespresso
Basically, on the website, they tell you to turn of your machine after the last cup. Easy, isn’t it? They also say that for year 2013, their new machines which integrate an auto-standby mode (PDF), which would turn it of after 30min.
Ok, it’s not cool to wait next to the machine to heat up. My tip is to turn on the machine, wait a minute, let water pass through for a couple of second and there you are, ready for a hot coffee. I’m sure there is a way to build in a quick start button.
Or why not design a widget which would allow you to turn on the machine from you computer two minutes before you need it? Why not integrating a chip registering the energy consumption of your machine? If your energy consumption/coffee ratio is low, you get free capsules? The chip could also learn from your “coffee habits” automatically start at 6:58am for your morning coffee and then return to sleep.
Hum, and what is happening with my old machine? Nowhere the saying anything about recycling… there might be a reason why….
One coffee, 82g of Co2
Nespresso estimates (still needs peer review…) that the total C02 emissions generated from its operations is 82 grams of CO2e per cup. This means for a 5 coffee/day consumption, a total of 150 Kg of C02 per year, which means 750km with a small car (myclimate).
To much money for Marketing
Nespesso always has a good communication, nice websites, awesome packaging, cool TV ads and of course, Georges. They invest a lot into marketing and they do a lot of money. Nespresso Ecolaboration sound like a good start, but it’s to much words (& images). But I think this is a well executed green-washing. They could do so much more to improve their environment friendliness.
And you? What do you think? Do you feel green-washed?
by Yann Graf