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Rio Tinto to supply Nespresso with aluminium for greener coffee

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Rio Tinto will be the first mining company to supply responsibly-sourced aluminium that supports ethical standards for the production of coffee capsules.

Nespresso pods will use carbon-free aluminium from Rio Tinto mining company
(Image via Nespresso)

The company signed a memorandum of understanding with Nespresso that will see them committing to sourcing 100% sustainable aluminium for the manufacture of coffee capsules by 2020. 

This is the latest in a series of developments by Rio Tinto to compete with sustainability requirements and boost the image of the mining industry. Last month Chief Executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques called for new partnerships in the sector.

The deal with Nespresso, he said, represents “a significant milestone for the industry”.

Daniel Weston, general counsel and global head of Nespresso’s Creating Shared Value Group said: “Our promise to our consumers is that they’re going to have a sustainably produced, high-quality product.

“You cannot have a sustainable proposition to your consumers if you are not implementing sustainability practices in your business. For us, this means everything from supporting our coffee farming communities to promoting the sustainable production and circular use of our aluminium packaging. 

“Aluminium ticks a lot of boxes. It’s lightweight, strong, and importantly for Nespresso - infinitely recyclable...It can be taken back and recycled and put back into the upstream supply chain.”

By 2020, Rio Tinto will be supplying Nespresso with responsibly sourced, carbon free, recylable aluminium
(Image via Nespresso)

As well as recyclability, the aluminium for the pods will be produced using revolutionary methods by Rio Tinto.

Using traditional manufacturing methods a single smelter takes enough power to light a city. Rio Tinto have been working with Alcoa on the Elysis project to create a new carbon free aluminium smelting technology. They hope to bring the technology to market and create a global standard for making the metal in a responsible, sustainable way.

The aluminium used will be subject to certification by the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI). This gives an ethical stamp of approval, similar to that of Fairtrade coffee and chocolate. 

Rio Tinto will be the first to deliver entirely ASI-certified aluminium, but with other mining companies following, your morning cup of coffee could soon get significantly greener.

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