Nespresso’s Brand Social Responsibility

Regular readers know I am a huge fan of Nespresso. I named it "best brand in the world" here.

And the brand has gone up even further in my estimation after I opened the latest letter from them today. The letter contained one of the most impressive bits of "brand social responsibility" (BSR) I have seen: Nespresso's capsule recycling scheme. As a re-cap, BSR is where you "bake" social responsibility into your product or service, rather than doing business as usual and sponsoring good deeds.

The Nespresso letter had inside a couple of special bags to use for collecting used capsules for returning to the company for recycling.

Screen shot 2011-06-06 at 09.53.06

Several things stand out for for me in this initiative.

1. Solve a real problem

This move addresses a key issue for many Nespresso users – the feeling of guilt when you throw away the used capsules. The feeling of guilt is bigger than with other products because the machine collects capsules, and only when it is full do you chuck them away. So, you end up throwing in the bin 20-30 capsules.

2. Make it easy

Nespresso sent me 2 bags to collect my capsules (I have started using one already). And all you need to do to have them picked up is select "Recycling" when you place an order online for new capsules. Nespresso will drop of your new capsules, and pick up the old ones.

3. Innovative recycling

As with the Nespresso brand as a whole, the recyling system is innovative. The company has figured out how to separate out the used coffee from the capsules. The coffee is then used for fertiliser. And aluminium is melted and re-used. The cool thing about aluminium is that it can be re-cycled infinitely.

4. Business sense

The re-cycling addresses a consumer issue. I wonder if might also make business sense from a cost angle. There is clearly a lot of investment to set up the system. But Nespresso might save money from being able to re-use the aluminium, rather than buy it. And perhaps a little bit of money is made from re-selling the used coffee granules?

5. Making BSR big

I was impressed to read on the brand's website that the re-cycling push is a big one: by 2013 the company plans to have capacity to re-use 75% of their capsules.

6. Umbrella branding for BSR

Nespresso have been smart in creating an umbrella name, Ecolaboration, to re-group their BSR efforts. These include capsule recycling, sustainable sourcing of high quality coffee and greener coffee machines.

Screen shot 2011-06-06 at 09.46.29

In conclusion, the best brand in the world just got even better by showing a brilliant example of BSR: baking social responsibility into the brand in a way which is big, bold and consumer friendly.