Consumers are more focused on business transparency than ever and as most of the environmental impact of consumer-packaged goods comes from the supply chain, many food and beverage companies, such as Nestlé, are making positive moves to green their supply chains.

Nestlé is using science, technology, and innovation to help it to meet the 2030 goal of zero environmental impact across its operations, and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The company is developing many processes and tools that help it to estimate and lower its overall carbon footprint, for example, KitKat will become a carbon neutral brand by 2025. It was the first global chocolate brand to be made using 100% sustainably sourced cocoa.

Reducing emissions from transport

A key focus of Nestlé’s environmental sustainability strategy is transport. It has a ‘no vehicle leaves empty’ policy to improve the efficiency of its transport, while reducing unnecessary journeys.  Transport Control Centres provide visibility of vehicles used across its network and help identify opportunities to reduce the number of empty vehicles. It also works with suppliers, retailers, and other manufacturers to share vehicles where appropriate and avoid trucks being empty on a return journey.

An example of this is its chilled products supply chain in Belgium, where it established that it could make the most efficient use of space by sharing a distribution centre, run by a third-party logistics company, with other industry members. Collaborating on truck space and journeys brought both operational and environmental benefits for Nestlé, as the project has lowered the number of trucks on the road, reduced carbon exhaust fumes by 63% and CO2 emissions by 43 tonnes per year.

Another way in which Nestlé is trying to reduce the environmental impact of its logistics is by transferring its transportation networks from road to rail or sea, wherever possible. For example, its North American bottled water brand Poland Spring is now transported via train, rather than truck.

Regenerative agriculture

Nestlé is scaling up initiatives to support regenerative agriculture. Nestlé plant scientists recently discovered low carbon and drought resistant coffee varieties through classical non-GMO breeding. They deliver higher yields and an up to 30% reduction in CO2, which reduces the carbon footprint associated with coffee consumption. Other new low carbon, disease and drought resistant coffee plant varieties are in the pipeline.

Lowering milk’s carbon footprint

Nestlé is collaborating with universities, suppliers, and start-ups to explore technologies that could substantially lower milk’s carbon footprint. For plant-based milk alternatives, it is also helping to develop low carbon brands such as Wunda, which is carbon neutral from launch and certified by the Carbon Trust.

Tackling deforestation

Nestlé has announced it aims to achieve deforestation-free primary supply chains for its forest-risk commodities (meat, palm oil, pulp and paper, soya, and sugar) by the end of 2022 and for coffee and cocoa by 2025. It will also grow 200 million trees by 2030 and invest in 15 landscape initiatives by 2023.

Source: Transport Intelligence, 3rd October 2022

Author: Julia Swales

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