The world’s biggest food company, Nestlé had already achieved its zero waste goal in 39 of its 468 factories around the world by the end of 2012, including in all of its plants in the UK and Switzerland. Specifically, the company aims to have no waste going to landfill or being incinerated without energy being recovered from the process.
The company has been recognised for its sustainability efforts in recent months, topping Oxfam’s Behind the Brands sustainability scorecard back in February, and also taking the NGO’s ‘most improved’ plaudit last month, along with Unilever. In addition, Nestlé was the number one food company in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index released last month, with a score of 88% – twice the industry average.
“The decision to achieve zero waste illustrates Nestlé’s commitment to environmentally sustainable business practices,” said Laurent Freixe, Nestlé executive vice president and zone director for Europe.
“We already have over 25 factories in Europe that do not dispose of waste into the environment.
“By relentlessly eliminating all sources of waste, or by recycling or recovering energy from unavoidable residues, I am convinced we can achieve the same for all our European operations.”
Reusing raw materials
One of the main ways that the company has sought to reach its zero waste target has been through reusing waste materials in the supply chain, such as milk, coffee beans and cocoa, and transforming them into value-added food products or energy sources.
The company gave the example of its Nescafé instant coffee brand, which originated as a way to use up unsold Brazilian coffee beans 75 years ago. Today, spent coffee grounds are a source of renewable energy in more than 20 Nescafé factories, and in other factories, product losses are processed for use in animal feed.