Promoting environmentally sustainable agriculture
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to making agriculture environmentally sustainable. We have a separate approach in place for every commodity or raw material that we buy. Examples of how we’re working with suppliers to improve the environmental sustainability of some of our raw materials are detailed below.
Improving the environmental sustainability of milk production
We use RISE (Response-Inducing Sustainability Evaluation), an indicator and interview-based method to assess the sustainability of farm operations across economic, social and environmental dimensions. Environmental issues considered as part of the RISE assessments include soil use, nutrient flows, water use, energy use and our impact on climate change and biodiversity and plantlet production. A new version, RISE 2.0, was developed between 2009 and 2011 to further improve the tool and make it available in different languages. RISE now evaluates the sustainability of agricultural production through ten indicators ranging from action needed to good performance.
Improving the environmental sustainability of coffee farming
The Common Code for the Coffee Community (4C) is a voluntary Code of Conduct to improve social, economic and environmental sustainability in the coffee sector. From an environmental perspective, the 4C association is currently promoting soil, water and energy conservation, waste management, soil fertility and nutrient management, biodiversity conservation including protected and endangered flora and fauna, minimisation of pesticide use by closely monitoring existing pests and diseases, and consulting specialised staff to introduced integrated pest and disease management controls.
Nestlé is committed to ensuring that over time we increase the coffee that we source as 4C compliant. To find out more about our work with 4C and our efforts to improve the sustainability of coffee farming and production in line with the 4C Voluntary Code of Conduct (see Coffee for more information).
Improving the environmental sustainability of cocoa farming
The UTZ certified ‘Good Inside Cocoa’ programme offers independent certification of improved agricultural, social and environmental practices. We have committed to increasing our UTZ-certified sourcing as part of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan (see Cocoa for more information).
Improving oat resilience to climate extremes
Oats are traditionally considered a difficult crop to grow, being particularly vulnerable to disease and climatic extremes such as droughts and floods. To secure supply of this crop for their breakfast cereal brand, Uncle Toby’s, Nestlé Australia has committed to helping farmers grow oats via the oat breeding programme.
The programme is designed to make oats more attractive for farmers to plant as well as increasing drought tolerance and disease resistance. By collaborating closely with farmers and key growers, offering more attractive pricing and promoting our preferred varieties, we have seen a significant increase in the area planted for oats for Uncle Toby’s. In addition, three new oat breeds have been developed and commercialised, which have better crop yields, improved drought and disease resistance, higher quality oats for milling, better appearance and improved nutrient properties.
We are an active member of numerous associations and organisations that promote environmentally sustainable agricultural practices, including:
- Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI): an industry organisation supporting the development of sustainable agriculture. We continue to support various working groups including water, coffee, dairy, meat, and fruits and vegetables.
- The Common Code for the Coffee Community (4C): a multi-stakeholder organization focused on addressing sustainability issues in the coffee sector, which we co-chair.
- The IDH Sustainable Coffee Programme: a public-private cooperation concerned with expanding sustainable coffee production and ultimately making it mainstream. Its immediate goal is to increase sustainable green coffee sales from the current 8% to 25% in 2015.