Nestlé: Where Commitment To Green Economy Is A Global Teamwork
When James Cash Penney Jr, an American businessman and entrepreneur who founded the JCPenney stores in 1902 declared that “The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison”, he probably had the world of Nestle intuitively in mind.
A world where all objectives and goals are pursued firmly, with an equal level of passion from Lagos to Viena or Sao Paulo.
In Nigeria, Big brand Nestle noticed that the 2023 World Consumer Right Day(WCRD) was quite different from most previous ones. The sustainability slant in the 2023 theme: “The Green Economy: Building a Cleaner Safer World for Consumers” attracted their interest just like it did to different brands in the country that created some activities around it.
This year, beverage giant, Nestle Nigeria decided to organize a media tour/training in commemoration of World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), to educate selected Brand Journalists on how the company’s activities are helping to achieve a sustainable environment.
Nestle also picked this year’s WCRD theme as the theme of the training held at the company’s Agbara plant, Ogun State.
As a responsible corporate citizen, Nestle, one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, has been committed to sustainability and environmental conservation over the years. I was part of the team.
While waiting in the conference room Nestle’s facility at Agbara. I went through various internal journals of the global Nestlé community. What caught my attention was the intention and scale of what Nestle calls “Advance Regenerative Food Systems” and what the brand was doing with this in Vietnam. This brand was supporting the development of a food system that helped protect, renew, and restore the environment, improve the livelihoods of farmers, and enhance the resilience and well-being of those farming communities.
I realized that when it comes to sustainability, Nestle is in it for the long haul investing in ambitious, innovative projects that can help benefit people and the planet for years to come.
I discovered that what was tagged regenerative agriculture was at the heart of what Nestle was doing in Vietnam, where coffee farmers who grow Nescafé beans were working hand-in-hand with local government and researchers to diversify crops, develop new irrigation methods using a Nestlé-supported smartphone app to avoid overusing chemicals, thus preserving the quality of the soil, and lowering the cost of the product. It was incredible to note that Nestle, in faraway Vietnam, is helping coffee farmers improve their environmental impact as well as their incomes, and the impact is comprehensively felt from farm to cup.
In Nigeria, just like what the brand is doing around the world, Nestle has taken significant steps towards promoting green energy, renewable energy, and a sustainable environment.
One of the ways that Nestle is promoting a sustainable environment is by reducing its carbon footprint. In Nigeria, the company has invested in renewable energy sources such as solar panels, biomass boilers, and waste-to-energy solutions to power its factories. By using these sustainable energy sources, Nestle is reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and lowering its greenhouse gas emissions.
Expanding these goals at the media training/facility tour, Corporate Communications, and Public Affairs Manager at Nestle, Victoria Uwadoka said, Nestle’s vision is hinged on four key targets; Climate activities, Sustainable packaging, Sustainable sourcing, and Caring for the water.
Her words: “We want Nestle to be around for a very long time, to stay in the environment and continue in the environment, and that is why we are seriously in support of sustainability- to sustain us, sustain our children and our children’s children.
“We have taken serious commitment and are conscious about our commitment- what we are saying is we don’t want any of the waste, be it plastic, paper, or any other material to end up in the landfill, waterways, gutters, rivers or the oceans- we want them to be managed sustainably,” Victoria said.
Indeed, keen observers will note that Nestle has implemented various sustainability initiatives to promote green energy and renewable energy. For example, the company has set a target to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To achieve this goal, Nestle is investing massively in renewable energy projects. The company is also improving the energy efficiency of its operations.
Furthermore, Nestle is committed to reducing waste and increasing recycling worldwide. In Nigeria, Nestle is working to reduce plastic waste by partnering with local organizations to collect and recycle plastic waste. The company has also introduced eco-friendly packaging solutions, such as recyclable paper packaging, to reduce its environmental impact.
According to Kayode Adewale, Nestle’s Packaging Manager, one of the ways Nestle ensures the preservation of the environment is its plastic neutrality. He said the company remains committed to designing plastic packaging for recycling and reuseables and reducing plastic use to paper because the ecosystem is a little more mature for paper than plastic which is why it changed the Milo and Nescafe Ready-to-drink (RTD) straw from plastic to paper.
In response to a question on Nestle’s plastic neutrality target, Victoria Uwadoka said the company has a minimum of 80% target by 2025, and already it has attained 45% mark.
“Our plastic neutrality target is to have a minimum of 80% by 2025, and for different types of plastic, we are at different percentages. In Nigeria, we have a good ecosystem for recycling pet bottles then we have a higher percentage for flexibles, a much lower percentage than that, for multilayer plastics are lower than that because these are the ecosystems that are relatively grown. Our challenge with it is, what do you do with it when you collect them? Who will use it after that?
“In the case of pet bottles for example, we have partners who are already transforming and using it for different things, on average calculating all the plastics we are about 45%, with our target being 80% minimum by 2025.
“Nestle has a community of people and some of the initiatives we drive, we do not do it alone, we work with sister companies and also work with MAN to ensure that we are sharing safe standards. For example, we are working towards zero waste and working with organizations within our community so, we are actively involved with MAN, and NECA among others.
“We are helping to create more awareness and to educate children and also have training for journalists and other people within the ecosystem. We are doing all of these because we know that, if you do not have any information, you do not stand any chance. When you are in Nestle you see that our mannerism will change but if you visit other companies you might see that we are all working together on the same journey,” Uwadoka noted.
Nestle is also focused on promoting sustainable agriculture practices. The company works with farmers to promote sustainable farming techniques that reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers, conserve water, and promote biodiversity. These practices not only help to protect the environment but also ensure a sustainable supply of high-quality raw materials for Nestle’s products.
Chairman, of the Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria, Clara Chinwe Okoro said the partnership between the media and Nestle Nigeria is because of the beverage giant’s consistent commitment in the area of energy sustainability and sustainable growth and development for the environment amongst others.
Nestle is really taking significant steps to promote green energy, renewable energy, and a sustainable environment in Nigeria and around the world. Through its investments in renewable energy, waste reduction, sustainable agriculture, and eco-friendly packaging, the company is demonstrating its commitment to building a cleaner, safer world for consumers.
One thing still stands out, across various locations globally, from Vietnam to Nigeria, Nestle’s commitment is clearly unflinching, revealing a brand that is poised to achieve its goal of deepening sustainability globally.