From Colombia to Peru, Lavazza’s commitment to sustainability sparks real human progress

Amazon river and the Amazon forest

June 23, 2022

Welcome to The Sprout, a series that explores the ways businesses are working toward a more-sustainable future.


Mario Cerutti, Lavazza’s Chief Institutional Relations and Sustainability Officer, has seen the positive effects of the Italian coffee company’s sustainability efforts impact real human lives. One particular story close to his heart is that of a coffee farmer named Johana, a young Colombian mother of six children, who had lost everything during the armed conflict caused by the Farc guerrillas in 2008.

“The Lavazza Foundation, with NGOs and local organizations, has been working since 2015 in the area where Johana lives with a project that has restored coffee plantations by replacing illegal crops with legal crops, giving a hundred families back their economic independence and thus greatly improving their living conditions,” Cerutti said in an interview with Amazon Ads. “Johana told her story of hope in a docu-film we made last year entitled Coffee Defenders, a Path from Coca to Coffee.”

The 2020 documentary, directed by Oscar Ruíz Navia and streaming on Prime Video, shows how lives like Johana’s can be transformed by sustainable development programs. These efforts are part of the Lavazza Foundation’s ¡Tierra! project, which launched in 2001 as a way to, “improve the living conditions, social development and economic growth of coffee farming communities while respecting the environment,” Cerutti said. “It was created keeping in mind the core principles of premium product quality, support and care for small communities, and respect for the planet.”

Trailer for documentary: Coffee Defenders: a Path from Coca to Coffee

This is all part of Lavazza’s deep-rooted commitment to sustainability. Dating back more than 120 years, the coffee company’s approach to business is “based on synergy between its system of values and its economic robustness, as borne by its major commitment to sustainability,” Cerutti said.

A human, not just brand, mission to fight climate change

In April of 2022, the UN published an urgent climate report that said it’s “now or never” to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. This report outlined the daunting task facing nations to reduce global emissions enough to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. The seriousness of the situation is clear, and today, more consumers are conscious of sustainability when it comes to their buying decisions.

According to a 2021 Amazon Ads and Environics Research study, 83% of US consumers, 88% of consumers in Europe, 88% of consumers in Canada and 95% of consumers in Mexico think more brands should do their part in helping the world.1 In the US, 60% of consumers actively seek out brands that are more sustainable in their business practices; in Europe, 71% of consumers do so. In addition, 55% of US and 66% of EU consumers are willing to pay more for more-environmentally friendly products.2

A brand lift study conducted by Amazon Ads during the 2020 Coffee Defenders campaign showed that across IT, UK, and US there was a positive increase in in aided awareness (2x market norm, Europe, beverages), brand favorability (8x market norm, Europe, Beverages) and Purchase intent (20x market norm, Europe, beverages).3

“Customers increasingly expect brands to inform them about the environmental impact of their products,” said Heather Kehrberg, Director of Global Creative Success at Amazon Ads. “Our team is proud to have worked with Lavazza to ensure their creative on Amazon Ads communicates their long-standing commitment to sustainability in an engaging and effective manner.”

Cerutti said that Lavazza has seen a growing interest among consumers for more-sustainable products.

“We can see it, not only through the data provided by the various research institutes with which we collaborate, but also from the feedback we get from those who follow us through the many channels of communication opened with the consumer and, in general, with civil society,” Cerutti said. “It’s crucial to all work together.”

As a company, Lavazza works to combat climate change by reducing emissions with the aim of reaching carbon neutral across its entire value chain. In 2020, Cerutti said, they reached an important milestone: all activities within manufacturing plants, offices, flagship stores, and company vehicles have achieved carbon neutrality.

“Coffee is a product of the land, and the farmers who grow it represent the cornerstone of the supply chain, which starts with the coffee bean and ends in the espresso cup,“ Cerutti said. ”So, we recognize the vital importance of coffee-producing communities, and the promotion of socioeconomic growth through sustainable farming.“

This why the Lavazza Foundation has created programs like ¡Tierra!, which are committed to helping communities fight the impact of climate change. The Lavazza Foundation is currently supporting 32 projects in 20 countries on 3 continents and with over 136,000 beneficiaries.

Informing customers about more-sustainable programs and products

At the 2022 Cannes Lions Festival, Lavazza and Amazon Ads debuted Amazonia - The Final Season (their second collaboration after Coffee Defenders). Voiced by Ben Harper, the film is a love letter to water and the rainforest, highlighting Lavazza Foundation’s efforts to preserve the forests of Peru. To help inform customers about this project, Lavazza and Amazon Ads used Fire TV ads and display and video ads. In the US, placements amplified the Amazon’s Stream It Forward program, where Amazon donates $1 to charity for every hour streamed.

With the growing interest in more-sustainable products, many brands are working to inform their customers about their efforts to help reduce their impact on the environment. Lavazza offers a number of products included in the Climate Pledge Friendly program on Amazon. The Climate Pledge Friendly label on Amazon helps customers discover and shop for more-sustainable products.

“It is certainly the responsibility of companies to educate and make the consumer aware of the sustainability and quality of the product,” Cerutti said. “Labels are a very important tool, but they have to be part of a broader information system: digital channels, the stores where our coffee is sold, websites and, finally, consumer service, which, in our case, is particularly careful and responds to all the requests that arrive at a global level. In addition, the most innovative communication projects with contemporary languages play a very important role, such as the docufilm on Johana that we mentioned earlier or the recent docufilm Amazonia - The Final Season.”

1 Environics Research, Social Values Global Consumer Themes, USA/Europe/Mexico, 2021
2 Environics Research, Social Values Global Consumer Themes, USA/Europe, 2021
3 Amazon Ads Internal, 2020