Nestlé has been active on a lot of sustainability fronts lately, from water and climate policy to deforestation and workers’ rights, to plant-based protein and plastic packaging reduction. While progress can often be slow for large global companies with complex supply chains, Nestlé has continued to reduce the negative impacts of its operations and the amount of salt, sugar and saturated fats used in its products; forge partnerships that Create Shared Value; and lead on climate-related supply chain risks.
We spoke with Josh Morton, Team Lead of Corporate Communications, to learn more about Nestlé’s latest efforts to Create Shared Value in the U.S. and incorporate purpose into its operations.
How is Nestlé living up to its responsibilities as a leading nutrition, health and wellness company?
Josh Morton: For us, our consumers come first. That’s why we set big commitments and objectives to make our portfolio even healthier and tastier, inspire our consumers to lead healthier lives, and deepen and share our understanding of nutrition science. In fact, just last month, we launched our new initiative, Nestlé for Healthier Kids, that brings together all of our efforts that support parents and caregivers in raising healthy kids. Our ambition is to help 50 million children worldwide live healthier lives by 2030. One of the ways we’re bringing this to life specifically in the U.S. is through a partnership with Rutgers University-Newark and the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance on a program called Start Healthy, Stay Healthy. The program provides families with evidence-based education to help them establish and maintain good nutritional habits for their children. Families who complete the curriculum also have an opportunity to become mentors to other families entering the program.
Nestlé has been active on a lot of sustainability fronts — which areas of focus are of highest priority? And which present the biggest challenges for Nestlé?
JM: We organize our Creating Shared Value priorities into three key pillars: individuals and families, our communities, and our planet. These three pillars have equal weight in terms of our overarching priorities and global ambitions. There’s a lot happening, without a doubt, but there are two things I think are important to highlight:
- Earlier this year, we announced a 15-year power purchase agreement with EDP Renewables, a global leader in renewable energy and one of the world's largest wind energy producers, that will provide approximately 80 percent of the electricity load for five Nestlé facilities in southeastern Pennsylvania. The agreement is a major step forward for our ambition to procure 100 percent of our electricity from renewable sources.
- We have a deep commitment to protect shared water resources and to community stewardship. That’s why we’re proud that in March, we announced that all five of our factories in California are now certified to the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard, the most rigorous standard of its kind in the world. Recent auditing as part of that certification process of our California factories revealed a combined savings of more than 54 million gallons of water between 2016 and 2017.
How is Nestlé cultivating a culture of purpose within the company (and beyond)?
The continued consumer paradigm shift to plant-based diets
Hear the latest on shifting consumer preferences toward more plant-based, planet-friendly foods from Daniel Vennard, Director of the World Resource Institute's Better Buying Lab — at SB'20 Long Beach.
JM: We want to integrate purpose in every level of our business — to think about the long-term impacts our business decisions have on individuals, communities, our planet and society at large. We are operating in a world where our success is inextricably linked to the success of our communities. At the end of the day, our employees are members of the communities in which we live and operate; our consumers are our employees and their kids and grandkids. Our business decisions are intertwined with thriving communities, so purpose is not something we take lightly or think of as an ‘add on’ to our everyday business.
What did attendees experience at the Nestlé booth in the Good Food Pavilion at SB’18 Vancouver?
JM: We had a special treat this year for the attendees. They were able to have an impactful experience with our Häagen-Dazs brand: a Virtual Reality film that takes the viewer through a day in the life of a honey bee. Honey bees continue to be at risk, as one-third of the world’s food supply (including many ingredients in our ice cream) depends on pollination, and many species are experiencing a significant population decline. Häagen-Dazs has been working for a decade now on pollinator research, consumer education and working with partners and suppliers on pollinator-friendly farming practices. The immersive VR experience made the plight of the honey bee real, and we hope attendees came away from viewing the film having learned something new in an interesting way. Additionally, I hope many attendees stopped by the booth to sample some of our bee-dependent ice cream flavors to help us celebrate 10 years supporting pollinator habitats.