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Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor

Is Nestlé's net zero plan to fight climate change credible?
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What's your view on the Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor report published on 13 February 2023?

There is clearly disagreement between these two expert organizations (New Climate Institute (NCI) and the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)), with regard to the approach companies should take toward achieving net zero emissions. This is problematic since, given the enormity and urgency of addressing climate change, companies need clear, common guidance on which to base their approach.

Since 2020 when we published our Net Zero Roadmap, we have followed the SBTi Standard since it has been around for longer, has been endorsed by the UN Global Compact and is considered the leading approach in this area.

Based on their Standard - and to our knowledge - we are one of the few major companies around the world to be below our reported GHG emissions level (i.e., versus 2018) across all three scopes of our activities. We have achieved this, even as our company has continued to grow over the same period.

We understand the NCI approach regarding other industries - notably these industries' use of offsets instead of drastically improving their GHG footprint.

However, when it comes to the food and agriculture sector, the NCI approach to decarbonization simply does not work: Food and agricultural companies like ours can and must play a role in adopting nature-based solutions to achieve their climate targets.

That is why we continue to invest in R&D and behind our sustainability initiatives as part of supporting farmers to grow food more sustainably - from restoring wetlands and enhancing natural habitats, to planting shade trees - all while helping farmers increase their yields and income within our supply chain.

What is the scope of our net zero roadmap? Are you addressing your scope 3 emissions?

Our roadmap covers all 3 scopes of our activities (scope 1, 2 & 3), and includes more than 80% of our overall scope 3 emissions, which are not under our direct control. By following this approach, we are going beyond the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) threshold which requires companies to address at least two-thirds of their scope 3 emissions. We transparently indicate which emissions are covered by our pledge on page 7 of our climate roadmap (pdf, 10Mb).

To address our Scope 3 emissions, we prioritize actions where we have most impact. For instance, most of our scope 3 emissions are linked to agriculture and the sourcing of our ingredients. We are working closely with farmers and suppliers to help them reduce their emissions and transform the way food is grown, through moving to regenerative agriculture practices.

Concretely how can regenerative agriculture help to 'remove' emissions?

One of the main benefits of regenerative agriculture is to make soils healthier by increasing soil organic matter. This improves the soil's ability to soak up carbon.

Examples of regenerative agriculture practices that benefit soil health and that we incentivize include:

  • Cover crops - grown in the period between two cash crops.
  • Crop rotation - planting different crops in the same plot over a number of years.
  • Agroforestry - growing trees, hedgerows or horticultural crops on farms.

Is it true that Nestlé will only achieve an 16%-21% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030? What's your progress to date?

Our climate targets are measured against a 2018 baseline (93 million tonnes of CO2e). We have already made significant progress, leaving peak carbon emissions behind us in 2019. Ever since, our emissions have continued to decrease, even as our company grows. The graph at the top right on page 21 of our Creating Shared Value and Sustainability report 2021 (pdf, 16Mb) helps visualize this trend.

Through a combination of reductions and removals, by 2030, we aim to decrease Nestlé's emissions in absolute terms by 50%. Emissions in 2030 would approximately equal 46,5 million tonnes of CO2e (versus the 93 million tonnes of CO2e from our 2018 baseline). By 2050, our goal is to reach net zero emissions.