From biofuels to wind-powered ships: Nestlé explores low-carbon logistic options for bottled water brands
The investment will focus on optimizing logistics routes and accelerating train transport, increasing the use of alternative fuels and transportation options and testing innovative alternative transportation options.
The vast majority of Nestlé's international water brands' emissions come from logistics and packaging under scope 3 (lifecycle assessment peer-reviewed by sustainability consultancy Quantis).
Nestlé Waters had previously pledged to achieve carbon neutrality for its brands by the end of 2022 - but has rescinded that goal and now says reducing emissions 'is the most impactful way' for brands to act.
By eliminating unnecessary journeys and shifting towards alternative modes of transport, the Swiss giant believes it can reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions of its international water brands and contribute towards its 2050 net zero commitment.
Fewer, bigger shipments
Nestlé Waters is reducing the number of truck journeys by optimizing payloads and routes. That means changing to a model of fewer, but bigger, shipments.
In Europe - the continent where Nestlé Waters has its biggest environmental footprint - the company will shift towards using more rail transportation. It has already converted 30% of its European logistics from road to rail. In France, it launched new rail routes for Perrier, saving an estimated 12,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year by the end of 2022.
The business is also working with partners to roll out a hydrogen - powered train route in France by 2025: set to reduce CO2e by an estimated 10 000 tonnes per year - a reduction of 90% of its current emissions, the equivalent of more than 30 000 round trips from Paris to Nice by car each year.
Rail transportation of S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna brands has also enabled a reduction of between 800 and 1,700 tons of CO2, estimates the company.
Alternative transport options
Nestlé Waters is also scaling up the use of biofuels, including Bio-LNG (liquefied natural gas made from processed organic waste), in trucks and other types of biofuels in ocean freight logistics to North America.
Using biofuels requires a shift to bio-LNG -powered vehicles and the development of supply and refueling infrastructure.
Partners of Nestlé Waters in Italy and Germany have already started incorporating this technology in their logistic operations.
Nestlé Waters is piloting the use of full battery electric vehicles in Europe to assess their durability and usability. These pilots include the use of three new fully electric heavy goods trucks (HGVs) - some of the first of their kind - in Germany, Italy and Switzerland.
Addressing the emissions from transatlantic journeys, Nestlé Waters has joined the Shipper's Coalition, a non-profit organization supporting the formation of new wind-powered ships and hoping to scale the use of these transports.
Estimates suggest these vessels could reduce carbon emissions by roughly 50% versus a conventional ocean freight ship.