Nestle acts on climate change

  • Aug 21, 2021
  • Kyiv Post

Climate change is one of the greatest risks to the food industry, that also impacts food availability for people. Addressing the ecological challenges of today requires bold leadership and radical ideas. It is clear that government alone cannot provide the solution and that companies will need to step up. Nestlé the world’s biggest food and beverage manufacturer understands that cooperation is the cornerstone of climate action, and so has stepped into a leadership role. Nestle sets bold commitments to reduce climate impact — to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050 while business will continue to grow.

One of the biggest shifts is taking place in the food industry, where companies are tackling the issue of packaging (especially plastic waste), with the latter aiming high and pledging an astounding 100% of recyclable and renewable packaging by 2025.

On the way to achieve Net Zero emissions, Nestle is in the process of evolving our packaging materials. Investments in packaging innovations and new business models help keep waste out of the landfill. By 2025, we aim to ensure that 100% of our packaging will recyclable or reusable. At the same time, we understand that 100% recyclable packaging is not enough to solve the problem of waste management in Ukraine.

In autumn 2020, Nestlé, in partnership with the waste management company Veolia, launched the Lighthouse project. The main goal is to develop waste sorting, collection and recycling infrastructure in a certain residential area to test the Extended Producer Responsibility system in Ukraine. EPR is a concept where producers are responsible for the whole life cycle of packaging materials from production to recycling.

The Lighthouse project has been successfully operating in three towns of Kyiv region — Makariv, Novy and Stary Petrivtsi. It covers 28,000 citizens. In project towns 222 special containers for collecting paper, glass, metal and plastic packaging waste have been located. Every month we collect about 20 tons of glass and 25 tons of packaging waste.

“Nestle has taken the commitment to make all the packaging reusable and recyclable by 2025. To address the issue of waste management effectively it is not enough merely to create cutting-edge packaging ready for recycling, it crucial to have the system and route established in the country for this packaging to be collected and recycled too. Today in Ukraine we are at the very early stages to study and implement a well-functioning circular economy. This is a crucial transformation and in order to accelerate industry, governments authorities, civil society and consumers all have to work effectively and provide its own contribution. As part of this approach, Nestlé takes an active role in the development of well-functioning collection, sorting and recycling systems together with partners,” – said Alessandro Zanelli, CEO Nestlé in Ukraine and Moldova.

Every week waste is collected and transported to the sorting station for further waste sorting and separation and distribution by fractions that on a later stage is transferred to the recycling plants in Kyiv, Lviv and Kharkiv regions.

To improve the project results and encourage citizens to be responsible and conscious of their waste behavior we launched educational program in project towns to engage adults and kids. We organized train-the-trainer seminars for teachers and provided them with educational and methodological materials for organizing lessons for school children. School program engaged all schools in the area and school children of all ages.

To build the waste sorting culture and raise the awareness among adults and elderly people, we created educational materials with waste sorting tips. An important component of the project is cooperation with local authorities. All those actions help to bring the knowledge of sorting to adults and kids and help raising the sorting quality in the area. The Lighthouse project is an example for others to prove that collection, sorting and recycling of packaging waste in Ukraine is possible today.

For the purpose of achieving the goal of Net zero by 2050, Nestlé implements changes across the value chain and operations including: working with farmers to shift to regenerative ways of growing ingredients for food, including for the products we produce and increasing the number of ‘carbon neutral’ brands to give consumers the opportunity to contribute to the fight against climate change. The remaining emissions Nestlé will offset through soil and forest restoration projects.

Nestlé in Ukraine together with farmers is working on sustainable practices and regenerative agriculture to source ways that protect ecosystems and reduce emissions. In the scope of the Hospodar we involved 8 farms who are participants of a full cycle of foodstuffs production on Kharkiv and Volyn factories. Also, Nestle in Ukraine joined the EU Green Deal Call – Farm to Fork which is aimed to achieve the climate neutrality of farms.

We continue our work towards greener logistics and use of renewable energy to manufacture our products. By 2025, all 800 Nestlé facilities worldwide will switch to renewable energy.

Nestlé in Ukraine and Moldova has a range of ambitious sustainability projects for the upcoming several years such as installation of solar panels and biomass boilers to grow the share of alternative energy source, and replacement of the car fleet with internal combustion engines for hybrid cars.