Supply Chain
Nestlé, Tata Setting the Bar for 100% Sustainable Sourcing

Nestlé UK & Ireland and Tata Global Beverages have both announced they are committed to achieving 100 percent sustainable sourcing for their products as part of their overall sustainability strategies.

For Nestlé, which has aimed to achieve 100 percent sustainable sourcing of its cocoa by the end of 2015, this would be a milestone event — making it the first major confectionery company to do so in the UK and Ireland.

The confectioner works with both UTZ Certified and the Fairtrade Foundation as part of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, where currently 60 percent of the chocolate purchased in the UK and Ireland is sourced from certified farms.

“Nestlé UK & Ireland is set to be the first to reach this landmark goal, making a real difference to farmers and their communities. For Quality Street, Nestlé has started purchasing certified cocoa and these products will be on the shelves in time for Christmas this year. This means we are on track to reach 100 percent by the end of 2015,” said Andrew McIver, Confectionery Managing Director of Nestlé UK and Ireland.

The Nestlé Cocoa Plan is a long-term initiative set-up by the company with the view of improving the lives of small-scale cocoa farmers through fair and sustainable sourcing practices. In 2009, Nestlé revealed it was to invest 110 million CHF (roughly US$121 million) over the next 10 years into plant science and sustainability initiatives as part of this plan. UTZ Certified, the Fairtrade Foundation and the Fair Labour Association all work collaboratively with Nestlé to ensure a fair deal and ethical sourcing for the smallholder farmers from which they source their cocoa, including those from the Ivory Coast — one of the poorest countries in the world, which supplies 40 percent of the company’s cocoa.

UTZ Certification is awarded to farmers who have been trained to produce quality products whilst also safeguarding the environment and natural resources. The farmers, who are monitored by independent third parties, must ensure they employ sustainable practices, have safe working conditions and do not use child labor.

“We have seen the willingness of leading companies to invest in and commit to sustainability grow strongly over the last couple of years. With Nestlé UK & Ireland’s commitment, UTZ Certified reaches a new milestone, endorsing the sustainability efforts of this market leader, and creating opportunities for cocoa producers worldwide to better market their product and improve their livelihood,” said Han de Groot, Executive Director or UTZ Certified.

Tata Global Beverages (TGB), the second-largest producer of tea across the globe and also a major coffee producer, also announced plans this week to achieve 100 percent sustainable sourcing by 2020 as part of its overall sustainability strategy.

Tata — along with Unilever, Yorkshire Tea and James Finlay — is among members of the Tea 2030 partnership calling for the sector to find legal ways to collaborate to turn tea from a standard commodity into a “hero crop,“ which benefits the millions who work in all parts of the industry as well as the wider environment and economy. Ethical sourcing is just one of the five key pillars of the Indian beverage company’s broader sustainability plan, which also includes Water Management, Climate Change Management, Waste Management and Community Development.

A key aspect of Tata’s sustainable sourcing strategy is to achieve optimal productivity in tandem with reducing dependence on synthetic inputs in the form of agrichemicals and Plant Protection Formulas.

“As a responsible player in the natural beverages segment, TGB cares deeply about sustainability and recognizes the importance of systematically reducing the use of Plant Protection Products in the tea industry and have been proactively advocating for the same. From bush to cup, we are always conscious of our obligation towards our consumers and seek continuously to maintain and improve the quality of tea production, delivering not just to norms but above and beyond them wherever viable,” stated Ajoy Misra, MD & CEO of Tata Global Beverages.

The company also released its “Guidelines on Plant Protection Formulas (PPFs),” which outlines its intentions to achieve sustainable agricultural practices throughout its supply chains, including the ingredients it sources through auction and directly from suppliers. TGB also look for third-party certifications including the Rainforest Alliance, Trustea or UTZ from its tea suppliers as evidence that they are complying with the company’s standards.

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