Zeroing in on net zero emissions

Batato says all 800 Nestle sites will use 100% renewable electricity in five years’ time.

Multinational food company Nestle plans to invest 3.2bil Swiss franc (RM14.68bil) over the next five years to progress towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

In a webinar launching its Net Zero Roadmap, the company said it would work with farmers and suppliers to advance regenerative agriculture, plant hundreds of millions of trees and switch to renewable electricity by 2025.

“We expect over the next five years to invest 1.2bil Swiss franc (RM5.47bil) in regenerative agriculture practices, ” said Nestle chief executive officer Mark Schneider.

“We believe that we have sufficient operational and structural cost-saving initiatives that provide the oxygen and the room for those investments.”

The food and beverage conglomerate said it would be financed primarily through operational and structural efficiencies to keep this initiative earnings neutral.

He said investments after the year 2025 were harder to quantify but technology would be in its favour over time as scalability kicked in and these technologies would become cheaper providing some tailwinds.

“We have a unique opportunity to address climate change, as we operate in nearly every country in the world and have the size, scale and reach to make a difference, ” he added.

Nestle executive vice-president and head of operations Magdi Batato shared that the company had produced 92 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018.

“Nearly two-thirds of this footprint are in the upstream part of our value chain, that is why our main focus will be on regenerative agriculture.

“To reach our net zero ambition, we will plan our work in three main phases from now until 2025, ” he elaborated.

He said the company would first aim to achieve 20% of absolute reduction in emissions from its 2018 baseline.

“Secondly, as from 2025, we will transform our operations by investing in technology and making fundamental changes to our portfolio and businesses.

“This work should be complete by 2030 and deliver 50% absolute reduction in emissions, ” Batato explained.

He added that between 2030 and 2050, the company aimed to eliminate emissions through high-quality and nature-based solutions, which would benefit communities and ecosystems at large.

The conglomerate would be working with over 500,000 farmers and 150,000 suppliers to support them in implementing regenerative agricultural practices.

“As for Malaysia, we are partnering with our suppliers to restore migration pathways for animals by planting native trees along the Kinabatangan river in Sabah as well as planting more trees throughout other Asian countries, ” said Batato.

“We will scale up our existing reforestation programme, planting 200 million trees over the next decade, 20 million per year in the areas where we source our ingredients.”

As for its operations, he said the company would be switching its global fleet of vehicles to lower emission options, as well as reduce and offset business travel by 2022.

“All our 800 Nestle sites, including factories, warehouses, logistic centres and head offices, will use 100% renewable electricity in five years’ time, ” he added.

Nestle will be continuously expanding its offering of plant-based food and beverages and is reformulating products to make them more environmentally friendly.

“That includes ensuring that 100% of our packaging is 100% recyclable or reusable by 2025, ” said Nestle global chief marketing officer Aude Gandon.

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