Nestlé receives top environment award

May 23, 2011
Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke (centre) collects WEC award COMMITTED TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: L-R: Terry Yosie; WEC President and CEO; Award presenter Professor Jim Schorr, of the Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University; Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke; Andrea Thomas, Senior Vice President Sustainability, of Walmart; Jeff Seabright, WEC Chairman and Vice President Environment & Water, of Coca-Cola.

Nestlé was last week crowned the winner of the 27th World Environment Center (WEC) Gold Medal award for its commitment to environmental sustainability.

Paul Bulcke, Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé, accepted the award “on behalf of our Chairman and the 280,000 employees that make Nestlé today”.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony on May 19 in Washington D.C. in the United States, Mr Bulcke also stressed that “this award is a mandate, an obligation and motivation to do even better so that also future generations can enjoy Good Food and a Good Life with Nestlé.”

The WEC Gold Medal Award is presented annually to a global company that has demonstrated a unique example of sustainability in business practice and is one of the most prestigious forms of recognition of a global company's ongoing commitment to the practice of sustainable development.

Nestlé was originally announced as the winner in January, ahead of this month's official prize ceremony.

Environmental efficiency

The Company was praised for its accomplishments in international corporate sustainable development, including its environmental practices that are driven by its Creating Shared Value initiative. This is Nestlé's way of doing business that focuses on specific areas of its core business activities; namely water, nutrition, and rural development; where value is created both for society and the Company.

Explaining Nestlé’s environmental efficiency, Mr Bulcke continued: “Our commitment to sustainable business practice is long-term in its perspective, comprehensive in its scope, and meticulously managed in its approach. Sustainable management has given us the solid base for our long-term business development; by consciously identifying areas of focus where shareholders’ and society’s interest strongly intersect, we can additionally optimize value creation for both parties. We are therefore honoured and motivated to receive this distinguished award.”

International Water Management Institute, IndiaMANAGING WATER IN COMMUNITIES: Nestlé's partnership with the International Water Management Institute is helping to map water use in the Punjab region.

He added: “In committing to long-term sustainable practices which are integral to our business, for example, we have built approximately 290 water treatment plants to date – significantly in developing countries where national and municipal waste water treatment infrastructure does not exist, or does not yet meet the international environmental standards that Nestlé supports. In more recent years, we have also pioneered co-generation technology in our factories.”

Nestlé has identified water as its major environmental challenge, both in its own direct operations and in its value chain. It has set a good example by reducing water consumption over the past decade by 33%, while increasing its food and beverage production volume by 63%, or a reduction of 59% per kilo of product. In the same time period, the Company has cut the quantity of water discharged from its factories into the ecosystem – after treatment and removal of pollutants – by 42%, or 65% per kilo of product.

By setting its sights on reducing consumption on a comparable basis by a further 10-15% over the next five years, Nestlé has continued to roll out a number of water-saving projects and initiatives to combat water usage.

Water management

As part of its efforts in many rural areas around the world to improve water management in agriculture, Nestlé last year completed a study in the Indian town of Moga, in alliance with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). This focused on the water footprint of milk and other local crops in the Moga Punjab region, where the study results will help local authorities and stakeholder to improve water efficiency and maximise the economic benefits from scarce resources.

And a number of projects which progressed in 2009 look set to increase the Company’s overall proportion of energy derived from renewable resources.

Energy from spent coffee grounds, Colombia RECYCLING COFFEE GROUNDS AS FUEL: Renewable fuel from spent coffee grounds provides 13% of the total energy required at Bugalagrande factory in Colombia.

For example, at the Bugalagrande factory in Colombia, the installation of Nestlé’s latest spent coffee grounds fuelled boiler allows the recovery of energy from this biomass. This renewable fuel provides 13% of the total energy required in the factory and has 95% lower CO2 emissions than the fossil fuel it replaces.

Nestlé has been implementing this type of technology for the last 30 years, and of its 27 coffee factories where spent grounds are a by-product – 21 are equipped with such technology.

In addition, Nestlé has also boosted its involvement with external bodies to further strengthen its leadership on environmental sustainability.

In 2009, Nestlé led a joint project with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), McKinsey and several other companies, to produce the “Charting our Water Future: a new economic framework to decision making” report.

Such attainments were recognised by the Gold Medal jury, which was chaired by Dr Joel Abrams, Professor Emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh. As an independent entity of the WEC and its programmes, it is composed of international leaders from academia, government, non-governmental organisations and retired industry professionals.

Dr Abrams praised the Company’s achievements and said: “I extend my congratulations to Nestlé for advancing sustainable practices across its many business operations and product categories. As with past recipients, the Gold Medal provides a positive incentive for Nestlé to extend its commitments to improve people’s living standards and quality of life.”

The WEC’s Gold Medal was established in 1985 to recognise significant industry initiatives in global environmental excellence and sustainable development.

Related case studies
Energy from coffee grounds, Colombia
International Water Management Institute, India

Related links
WEC press release
Charting our water future