We continue to implement our Responsible Sourcing Guideline (RSG) in the supply chains of our 12 priority categories – palm oil; pulp and paper; soya; sugar; cocoa; coffee; dairy; vanilla; hazelnuts; shea; meat, poultry and eggs; and fish and seafood – and our work on the direct sourcing of milk and coffee in particular.
The suppliers of these materials are already subject to our Corporate Business Principles and Supplier Code. But through the RSG, we are now incorporating performance requirements on the use and management of water and soil, the maintenance and enhancement of biodiversity, the elimination of deforestation and the identification and protection of High Conservation Value areas in the supply chains of 12 priority categories.
We are aiming to have assessed 30% of the volume of these priority categories against our RSG, and for them to be compliant or have improvement plans ongoing, by 2015 (see Raw materials). Currently, 28% (2013: 9%) of the volume of our priority categories is Responsibly Sourced in accordance with our Responsible Sourcing Guideline requirements. Read more on Responsible sourcing.
We have produced detailed requirements for water use in agriculture that are now being used in our Responsible Sourcing Guideline to guide better water stewardship at the farm level. These requirements are based on the SAI Platform’s water guidelines, but also include current thinking from the major agricultural commodity certification schemes and the Alliance for Water Stewardship standard.
Raw materials and deforestation
The destruction of tropical rainforests and associated peatlands adds to biodiversity loss and is contributing to social and land conflicts. We’re committed to ensuring that the raw and packaging materials we source have not led to deforestation.
We have taken a proactive role in tackling deforestation, particularly in the responsible sourcing of palm oil, through our work to drive traceability, our work directly with suppliers and our support for the goal of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) to mobilise resources within our respective businesses to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020. We also assisted the CGF in setting up the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, a public–private partnership between the CGF and the governments of the USA, United Kingdom, Norway and the Netherlands that aims to reduce tropical deforestation associated with key global commodities.
Nestlé has also backed the New York Declaration on Forests, whose vision is to halt and reverse the loss of forests, and participated in various conferences and events to raise awareness, seek solutions and develop collaborative efforts across different sectors to tackle deforestation in key locations such as Africa, South East Asia and Latin America.
In our own Commitment on Deforestation and Forest Stewardship, we pledge that our products will not be associated with deforestation. This covers all the raw materials we use to make our products, and also packaging. Our Responsible Sourcing Guideline Framework for Forest-Based Materials has been developed to help procurement staff and suppliers implement our commitment.
Three categories of raw material are central to our ‘no deforestation’ commitment, as they are considered to have the highest impact on deforestation and forest stewardship: palm oil, soya, and pulp and paper. Our approach to the challenge remains the same for all three: to work with suppliers and partners to map our supply chains back to the origin, then assess and develop our suppliers against our Responsible Sourcing Guideline. Other commodities including meat and dairy products, cocoa, coffee and cassava are also problematic in some places, and are being tackled accordingly country by country.
In addition, in our Commitment on Biofuels, we raise awareness of the risks to forests, water and food supplies resulting from conversion to growing biofuel crops.
Improving biodiversity through direct sourcing
For our Farmer Connect activities, sourcing milk and coffee from more than half a million farmers, we take a more hands-on approach to assessing impacts and influencing behaviours to protect biodiversity at the farm level:
- Our 2010 survey of factories revealed that our dairy factories and the surrounding milk districts are often close to protected areas and areas of high biodiversity. This is applicable to operations in Brazil, China, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, the Philippines and South Africa. Using RISE, our assessment and action planning tool, we are working with dairy farmers to review their methods and develop action plans for economic, social and environmental improvements. RISE studies have been completed on 92 farms in eight countries to date.
- Biodiversity issues are managed primarily through the 4C Coffee Code, the Nespresso AAA Sustainability Quality™ Program and the Nescafé Plan, which, in partnership with Rainforest Action Network, has developed better farming practices. These initiatives include safeguards against sourcing from protected areas, restrictions on pesticide use, soil conservation and watercourse protection.
Improving biodiversity through silvopasture
Silvopasture is the practice of combining forestry and grazing of domesticated animals in a mutually beneficial way. The advantages of a properly managed silvopasture system are enhanced soil protection and increased long-term income resulting from the simultaneous production of trees and grazing animals.
We continue to help farmers implement silvopastoral systems, planting different species of trees, hedges and shrubs on the pasture land to improve biodiversity and yields. Nestlé Nicaragua has recently helped 10 pilot farms implement silvopastoral systems.