Women in Coffee: Nespresso’s establishes a new tool to analyze the gender gap

New Nespresso study establishes a tool for measuring and analysing the gender gap

Advancing gender equality is a key driver for coffee sustainability and can have a significant impact on coffee quality and productivity. Strengthening the role of women farmers would increase economic growth, improve social well-being, ensure sustainable development and reduce poverty among millions of people.

This new research by Nespresso examines the barriers to strengthening the role of women in coffee farming and identifies opportunities to increase the involvement of women – representing huge potential benefits for communities across coffee-growing regions.

Empowering women to play a more direct role in the management of smallholder farms could have a significant impact on the economic and social development of millions of people. Research by the UN shows that when women work economies grow faster and communities directly benefit as women tend to invest more of their earned income into their family’s health, nutrition and education.

TechnoServe coffee drying South Sudan
TechnoServe coffee drying South Sudan

However, in many countries women are lacking equal access to training and support, lessening their potential to play a significant role in coffee production. This is often due to men often owning most of the land and often have additional responsibilities such as child care and domestic duties.

One of the objectives of the AAA Program – which encourages farmers to learn sustainable quality practices – is to ensure women farmers have access to this critical knowledge and training that can trigger a mindset shift and behavior change that can positively impact the sustainability of coffee sourcing.

Research showed that many farmers prefer being trained by women agronomists, so Nespresso has started tailoring recruitment processes to ensure we attract more women to those positions. Already, women represent 31% of the 441 agronomists working with coffee farmers worldwide through the Nespresso Sustainable Quality TM Program (compared to 15% global average, according to World Bank estimates).


New gender equality analysis tool in the field

Through a new study that aimed to measure the gender gap in coffee farming, Nespresso has developed a field-tested gender analysis tool that supplier field teams can use to get a deeper understanding of the gaps and opportunities to strengthen the impact on women coffee farmers’ participation, learning and economic empowerment. The tool collects a wide set of data on farmers including; education and literacy levels, access to transport, views on female trainers as well as comparing how husbands and wives view their roles in coffee farming.

Based on the findings from the analysis, Nespresso is implementing new initiatives including gender sensitisation training and new recruitment processes for agronomists across different local communities.

TechnoServe coffee drying South Sudan
TechnoServe coffee drying South Sudan

AAA program training commitments for 2018

All members of the AAA program, including more than 400 agronomists as well as farmers and community and cooperative leaders will receive new gender sensitisation training incorporated to learn about the benefits of increased gender equity and the methods of achieving it. This training will be part of onboarding processes and followed up with regular refreshers.

Additionally, the analysis found many women stated a preference for female trainers. The AAA program will work closely with local communities to tailor recruit initiatives for female agronomists and the roll out of a revised sexual harassment policy will ensure a safe work environment for women.

Nespresso is investing more than 220 000CHF to deliver a number of these on the field programs during this year.


Nespresso’s valuable partnerships

Daniel Weston, Nespresso Head of Sustainability said; ‘‘Gender equality is a critical part of coffee sustainability and something that is an integral part of our AAA program. We know there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach for the 70,000 coffee farmers of the AAA program, so we have been working with our partners to find the most appropriate ways to increase the number of female farmers within our program. For example, to address female farmers not feeling qualified to apply for an agronomist role we have advertised a several-day training course instead of a job offer and found more females were inclined to participate. We are proud to be leading the way in creating initiatives that encourage more women to participate in coffee farming.’’

Launched in 2003 in collaboration with the NGO the Rainforest Alliance, the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program works with key partners to achieve the program’s gender equality goals. These partners include TechnoServe, and NGO that works with Nespresso in Africa.

Myriam Sainz Stuyck, is Director of Strategic Initiatives at TechnoServe. She said; ‘‘We work closely with Nespresso to deliver tailored sustainable solutions for coffee farmers. Our field agronomists working in the AAA program work and live in the field, and are able to identify gender sensitive approaches that work for individual communities. For example, we have seen the presence of female agronomists in certain areas has boosted the participation of female farmers in training programs.’’