Nestlé goes green, clean and lean with environment and health targets

By David Burrows

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Related tags Level playing field Renewable energy Nutrition

Half of Nestlé UK & Ireland’s electricity will soon come from a new wind farm located in the Scottish borders.

The company already sources 100% renewable energy in the electricity it takes from the grid, but the new investment is a “huge step”​ given the target to achieve 20% renewable energy use across all sites by 2020, it says.

The news comes as Nestlé published an update on progress towards its responsible and sustainable business targets.

In the past two years the company has achieved a number of its goals, including 10% renewable energy use across all sites by 2015 and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. Water consumption was also cut by 40% between 2016 and 2015.

However, it is struggling to meet commitments to switch 15% of road transportation to rail and ensure 95% of packaging is recyclable - it currently stands at 93%.

A milestone moment

When it comes to raw materials, a target to source 100% certified sustainable cocoa for confectionery by the end of this year has already been reached. This was a “milestone moment”​, wrote chairman and CEO Fiona Kendrick in her foreword to the Nestlé in Society​ report.

There are more stretching commitments ahead, however, with the distribution of 220 million plantlets by 2020 in a bid to “improve the quality, quantity and sustainability”​ of the coffee supply chain.

The 2015 goals for health and nutrition have been met, bar two – to provide portion guidance on all children’s and family products and promote home cooking and meals with vegetables on 90% of its Maggi product portfolio.

The sugar content in any serving of children’s or teenagers’ breakfast cereal has been reduced to 9 g or less and there is more wholegrain than any other ingredient in these products, both of which were 2015 targets.

By the end of this year there are six further targets to meet, including an additional 10% reduction of sugar, fat and salt content in products that don’t meet Nestlé Nutritional Foundation criteria and the launch of large-scale children’s nutrition research projects in at least 10 countries globally to help inform product and service development.

Kendrick noted the role food manufacturers have in addressing current public health challenges. However, UK public health policy is “evolving quickly”,​ she noted as the government recently announced a tax on sugary drinks​, revamped dietary guidelines​ and will soon publish a childhood obesity strategy.

Level the playing field

Kendrick called for a policy environment that will establish “a level playing field, support investment in innovation, and encourage responsible business”​.

Earlier this week, Nestlé executive vice president for Europe, Middle East and North Africa Luis Cantarell pushed a similar message as he publicly backed the Dutch EU Presidency efforts​ to develop an EU-wide nutrition policy to motivate industry to invest in healthier products.

“Today, we have 28 different national solutions to the same problem,” ​he said. “Replacing this by one strong, long-term EU policy framework will create a level playing field and encourage competition, to drive innovation in nutrition.”

Nestlé will announce new nutrition and health commitments later this year.

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