Nespresso is known the world over for bringing barista-quality coffee into our homes. (And George Clooney, of course.)

And soon their famous coffee pods will be even better: They'll be made with the world's first certified responsible aluminium, produced by Rio Tinto.

The aluminium in Nespresso's iconic coffee pods is about to get even better

Just like Fairtrade coffee and chocolate, the certification by the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) gives the metal an ethical stamp of approval. It's assessed against strict, independently audited criteria including production, emissions, waste, biodiversity and human rights.

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

"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.

"Aluminium plays a critical role for us – it helps us preserve the freshness and aromas of the coffees, and it also helps us meet our sustainability goals too.

"It can be taken back and recycled and put back into the upstream supply chain," Daniel says.

Nespresso pods Nespresso pods
The aluminium in Nespresso's iconic coffee pods is about to get even better

Over the years Nespresso has worked with a range of local partners to set up convenient pod recycling solutions for customers: now almost all of their customers have access to pod collection facilities.

But for Nespresso, recycling wasn't enough – it was also important to look at how the aluminium was produced in the first place. And so they joined forces with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and aluminium producers like Rio Tinto to create a global standard for making the metal in a responsible, sustainable way. It's the first of its kind for any industrial metal.

One of the company's challenges was reducing the carbon footprint of a cup of Nespresso coffee. And while aluminium's recyclability is a major plus, it takes a large amount of energy to produce the metal – a single smelter can use enough power to light a not-so-small city.

Aluminium stacks Aluminium stacks
Today Rio Tinto produces some of the highest-quality, lowest-carbon footprint aluminium in the world

An ASI certification means the aluminium has been produced in a way that treats people fairly, manages waste properly and reduces impacts on the environment

Daniel Weston, general counsel and global head of Nespresso's Creating Shared Value group

It's a challenge Rio Tinto has been working on for some time. Today we produce some of the highest-quality, lowest carbon footprint aluminium in the world and launched the industry's first certified low carbon aluminium, RenewAlTM, in 2016. And we're now taking it to the next level – through our Elysis joint venture with Alcoa, to bring carbon free aluminium smelting technology to the market.

The ASI certification provides our customers, like Nespresso, with assurance that our aluminium is produced not just to the highest environmental standards, but social and governance standards too.

"An ASI certification means the aluminium has been produced in a way that treats people fairly, manages waste properly and reduces impacts on the environment," says Daniel.

"It's an important milestone, pioneering the adoption of these new standards and leading the way for the entire industry.

"With responsibly sourced aluminium now a reality, we can meet our commitment to customers to reduce the impact of their consumption by reducing the carbon footprint of a cup of coffee, and make a positive contribution towards creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future."

So your next cup of Nespresso coffee won't just taste good, it will feel good too.