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Nespresso uses blockchain to track coffee from Zimbabwe


Nespresso is using blockchain to enable consumers to trace the origin of Zimbabwe sourced coffee back to the farm.

Two years ago, Nespresso started a Reviving Origins program to restore coffee agriculture in regions affected by conflict or other changes. In the late 1980s, Zimbabwe produced 15,000 tons of coffee and by 2017, the figure was just 500 tons. The country’s main agricultural produce is tobacco.

Nespresso says it had a traceability program in place since 2003, but it simply hasn’t shared it with the public yet.

“We know that consumers are more and more interested to know where their coffee is coming from. Thanks to our AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program, we have had traceability back to individual farms in our value chain for over 15 years,” said Guillaume Le Cunff, CEO of Nespresso added. “I am pleased that thanks to this blockchain initiative, we can now take it one step further and invite our customers to discover the farmers behind their TAMUKA mu ZIMBABWE coffee”.

However, when we took a look at the solution, we’d have to conclude that either only geeks drink TAMUKA mu ZIMBABWE or the project is a work in progress. It shows a hash which can be checked on the public Ethereum blockchain, and the user can download the zip files to look at the data in spreadsheets. In terms of usability for the general public, we’d give it a poor score.

But Nespresso’s parent, Nestlé, takes both food traceability and blockchain pretty seriously. It’s a member of IBM’s Food Trust enterprise blockchain network and recently partnered with the Rainforest Alliance to certify coffee beans entering its supply chain from farms in South America. In this case, it’s using traceability for its Zoégas coffee brand. Six months ago, it used the platform for its French infant milk range GUIGOZ Bio.

And in Australia, it’s a participant in OpenSC, the sustainable supply chain initiative founded by WWF Australia and the Boston Consulting Group Digital Ventures. 

Image Copyright: Nespresso