In collaboration with our partners and stakeholders, we are working towards our ambition to strive for zero environmental impact in our operations. We have set clear commitments and objectives to use sustainably managed and renewable resources, operate more efficiently, achieve zero waste for disposal, and improve water management. We also continue to actively participate in initiatives that reduce food loss and waste, and that preserve our forests, oceans and biodiversity.
Our 2030 ambition: Strive for zero environmental impact in our operations
Natural resources are becoming more constrained. Biodiversity is rapidly declining and forests are still disappearing. Water is increasingly scare. Moreover, climate change will exacerbate all the challenges that we are currently facing. In addition, one-third of the food produced is either lost or wasted every year. As the world’s largest food and beverage company, we must use the planet’s resources wisely and draw our global influence to effect positive change and grow sustainably.
Investing $2 billion into sustainable packaging
We're investing up to $2 billion to lead the shift from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics, and to accelerate the development of sustainable packaging solutions. Packaging innovation, including new materials, refill systems and recycling solutions, is another key challenge on the path towards a waste-free future. In addition to our significant research through the Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences, we're launching a $250 million sustainable packaging venture fund to invest in start-up companies that focus on these areas.
This new investment will help us meet our commitment to make 100% of our packaging reusable or recyclable by 2025. The amount of packaging we’d save by doing this is equivalent to taking 127 million trash bags out of landfill. The climate impact will be like taking 600,000 cars off the road for a year, or powering 500,000 homes for a year.
Here are some of the other ways we are improving our environmental performance through efficiencies and new technologies.
Water is a shared and precious resource that we need to manage sustainably. We unequivocally believe access to water is a basic human right. Everyone, everywhere in the world, has the right to clean, safe water for drinking and sanitation. Responsible water stewardship is a key part of achieving our ambition to strive for zero environmental impact in our operations. Water is essential for our business: the ingredients we source need water to grow and we need water to run our manufacturing facilities. In the past year, to support improved water stewardship:
- Nestlé Waters North America implemented the Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard at five key U.S. facilities.
- In southern Maine, where we produce Poland Spring, Nestlé Waters North America is working with the University of New England to protect a 1500-square-mile watershed. As part of the Sacramento River Watershed Collaborative, we are coordinating local stakeholders to better monitor and protect the river and its watershed.
- Nestlé Purina partnered with The Nature Conservancy to improve water sustainability in the beef supply chain and help farmers conserve up to 2.4 billion gallons of irrigation water over three years.
Climate change is a critical global challenge, with shifting weather patterns threatening food security, and changes in consumption putting pressure on natural resources. Our size and scale means we can show real leadership on climate change and find ways to further reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and use more renewable energy. We have set ambitious targets to reduce GHGs, in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
- In 2018, we signed a power purchase agreement with EDP Renewables to supply clean electricity for five of our facilities in southeastern Pennsylvania over the next 15 years - the energy savings are equivalent to taking 25,000+ cars of the road each year.
- In October 2017, Nestlé Waters North America introduced alternative fuels to reduce its carbon footprint, switching 589 ReadyRefresh delivery vehicles to cleaner alternative fuels.
- We assert our commitment to #WeAreStillIn to support climate action to meet the commitments set forth by the Paris Accord and have joined with other members of the business community to support regulation to reduce greenhouse gases, such as the Clean Power Plan.
We aim to develop our business while improving our environmental performance, to ensure a more sustainable supply of natural resources and raw ingredients goes into making our products. We continue to play our part in helping to reduce food loss and waste. In our sites, we reduce, reuse, and recycle with the ultimate goal of being landfill-free.
- By the end of 2017, 73% of our total factories in the U.S. achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status, which can help reduce methane-producing gasses, reduce our carbon footprint, and extend the product lifecycle.
- Nestlé USA, Gerber, and Nestlé Waters North America are all members of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s How2Recycle program, designed to keep recoverable materials out of landfills.
- In 2018, Nestlé Pure Life announced a new bottle made from 100% recycled plastic.
Where we make an impact
Driven by our company purpose to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future, we have defined three overarching ambitions which will guide our work towards achieving our 2020 commitments and supporting the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Our global efforts in these areas are supported through 42 commitments.