In 2012 and 2013 Nestlé was ranked amongst the leading global companies in the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index for disclosure and performance. In 2013, we were the top food company in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index which includes climate strategy and in the Oxfam ‘Behind the Brands’ scorecard for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and helping farmers adapt to climate change.

Climate change is integrated into our company-wide risk management processes and in 2013 we further strengthened their commitment to lowering GHG emissions associated with the production and distribution of our products. Nestlé also commits to designing products that help consumers lower their own GHG emissions and works with farmers to improve their resilience to climate change.

Nestlé are now emitting almost half the GHG per tonne of product that they were 10 years ago, and direct GHG emissions from their factories were reduced by 16% between 2005 and 2013 (while production doubled). This has been achieved by improving energy efficiency, switching to cleaner fuels and investing in installations using renewable energy sources. Nestlé has invested CHF 250 million in replacing synthetic refrigerants with natural alternatives in its industrial refrigeration systems.

Nestlé are committed to eliminating deforestation from our supply chains and have pledged their support to the Consumer Goods Forum’s goal to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020. It assesses the sustainability of farm operations across economic, social and environmental dimensions, using RISE (Response-Inducing Sustainability Evaluation), a tool created by the School of Agriculture at Bern University. RISE assesses a range of sustainability issues including nutrient flows, energy use and impacts on climate change.

For example, it has been used in the farms providing milk to the Cayambe factory in Ecuador and has identified key areas to improve farm sustainability, especially by implementing silvopastoral systems (planting trees on pastoral and grazing land). Farmers there have received technical help in plant nursery, sowing and protection methods, and so far, more than 200 hectares have planted. The silvopastoral system will be implemented in other areas in Ecuador.

In France, there have been several projects to encourage more sustainable potato farming practices for the Maggi Mousline Mash brand in recent years. This includes water preservation, biodiversity conservation, emission reductions and soil management. Following new environmental regulations, Nestlé have been helping farmers select the right species of “cover crops” to protect and enrich the soil before potato planting. This has not only helped farmers improve soil fertility, but has also reduced fertilizer consumption. The company has been exploring ways to improve environmental conditions in other aspects of potato farming, including tractor fuel and more environmentally-efficient driving technologies.

Dairy farmers in China, Mexico and now Indonesia are being helped to invest in biogas digestors, which help reduce GHG emissions (particularly methane) whilst providing clean energy to the farmers and reducing surface and ground water pollution. In an initial phase in Indonesia, 8,000 farmers will be helped to invest in biogas digestors, with the ambition to roll this out to over 30,000 farmers.

Nestlé has committed to ensuring that it increases the quantity of coffee that it sources as compliant with the 4C Association’s Common Code for the Coffee Community, a voluntary code of conduct to improve social, economic and environmental sustainability in the coffee sector. The 4C Association promotes soil, water and energy conservation, as well as soil fertility and nutrient management. These latter two aspects in particular are important in managing GHG emissions and in helping to make farmers more resilient to climate change.

Javeira Charad, is a Environmental Sustainability Project manager for Nestlé