Pulp and paper

Nestlé bought around 1.46 million tonnes of pulp and paper in 2016, much of it from paper mills, converters and packaging manufacturers in Europe, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United States. It is used for food packaging, wrapping and transportation, as well as for office stationery and marketing materials.

Well over 35% of the pulp and paper Nestlé uses involves recycled materials. Recycling in the pulp and paper industry is well established but we are unable to use 100% recycled material due to food safety requirements, quality and physical properties. Recycled material is not considered as adding to deforestation, so we do not map and assess the upstream recycled supply chain for the same concerns as we would for ‘virgin’ pulp and paper.

How we source pulp and paper

We source our pulp and paper from companies throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and West Africa. We aim to source only pulp and paper that meet our ‘no deforestation’ requirements, or at the very least come from suppliers making measurable progress to meeting them.

As well as focusing on deforestation and virgin fibre, our category-specific requirements for pulp and paper, developed in conjunction with our partner The Forest Trust (TFT), require:

  • Adherence with local and national regulations and laws;
  • Protection of high-carbon-stock forests;
  • Protection of HCV sites; and
  • No development on peat, regardless of depth.

Our Responsible Sourcing Guideline reinforces our specific commitments on deforestation and forest stewardship, rural development and water stewardship.

We also use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accreditation to demonstrate compliance. The FSC is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests, and best meets Nestlé’s criteria for credible certification.

Pulp and paper supply chain challenges and solutions

The biggest issue facing the supply chain is undoubtedly deforestation, something Nestlé has been at the forefront of addressing. Resolving this in the face of growing consumer demand is a major global challenge.

Deforestation and biodiversity loss

The main challenge within the pulp and paper supply chain is deforestation, a major environmental issue. Poor forest management is an issue, and rising consumer demand means tropical rainforests and associated peatlands, as well as high conservation value (HCV) areas, have been cleared to make way for plantations. This has contributed to greenhouse gas emissions, soil erosion, water pollution and a loss of biodiversity.

In 2010, Nestlé made a ‘no deforestation’ (pdf, 305Kb) commitment, stating that all of its products, globally, will not be associated with deforestation by 2020 (we also support the Consumer Goods Forum’s ambition for zero net deforestation by 2020). This commitment was the first of its kind by a food company, and covers all the raw materials we use to make our packaging, as well as foods and beverages.

Growing demand for fibre

Global paper consumption has been growing at a steady rate for decades and is looking to increase further with increased demand in rapidly growing economies. The production of pulp and paper therefore plays a hugely important role as an industry to shape forests worldwide, with pulpwood grown in a vast range of landscapes and societies. Most pulp is still produced in North America, Europe, China and Japan, with fibre sourced from these countries/regions and from further afield. However, large investment is flowing to South America, Africa, Asia and Russia, attracted by lower production costs, growing demand and large volumes of natural forest fibre. While fibre from these expansion fronts does not currently enter our supply, we are looking to be more proactive to better understand where expansion is happening and what groups are expanding. For those with which we have existing links through our ongoing Responsible Sourcing work on pulp and paper, we are looking at how we can ensure that the requirements of our Responsible Sourcing Guideline are considered prior to plantation establishment.

Recycled material

Through our work on pulp and paper we have principally been following up on the virgin fibre content of the products that we purchase, as this is where we saw the greatest risks to our ‘no deforestation’ policy. However, through the supply chain mapping work with our suppliers, we now recognise that recovered fibre is also a key component in some of the products that we buy, and there are associated social risks in terms of litter collection in some countries. We currently have limited visibility of these recovered-paper supply chains. Going forwards, we will be looking at undertaking up to three visits in 2017 to recovered-paper producers and upstream collection centres in markets (Brazil, Mexico, India) where some initial research has indicated that there are social issues, given the informal organisation of the sector. Based on these findings we will then determine what next steps can be taken.

How we assess suppliers

In partnership with TFT, we map and assess supply chains of paper and board suppliers across high-priority countries – the USA, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Chile, Japan and Mexico, and supplier countries in Europe and Central and West Africa. Supplier field visits are carried out to determine how companies in our supply chain are operating close to Intact Forest Landscapes and HCV areas. Field visits are also conducted to understand the role smallholders play as providers of raw material in the pulp and paper supply chain, and how companies are managing their out-grower schemes to meet our Responsible Sourcing Guideline. Projects to address assessment findings will begin in 2017.

Our objectives

Pulp and paper supply chain traceability results

Pulp and paper supply chain traceability chart. Total volume: 1 460 000 tonnes. Percentage of volume traceable (at least back to the country of origin): 75% (2016 target: 80%). Percentage of volume Responsibly Sourced (assessed and engaged in continuous improvement, compliant, or certified against an approved sustainability scheme and recycled): 55% (2016 target: 60%)
  • Total volume 1 460 000 tonnes
    Percentage of volume traceable (at least back to the country of origin) 75% (2016 target: 80%)
    Percentage of volume Responsibly Sourced (assessed and engaged in continuous improvement, compliant, or certified against an approved sustainability scheme and recycled) 55% (2016 target: 60%)

Our progress to date

In addition to engaging with paper mills, converters and packaging manufacturers, 28 visits to our suppliers’ sites were carried out in 2016. We also completed the roll-out of mapping and assessing our supply chain in Thailand, Vietnam and Central and West Africa, and this process continued in Chile, Japan and Mexico.

Site visits made in 2016 included:

  • 27 field visits (assessments and follow-up visits); and
  • 19 face-to-face supplier and Nestlé market meetings/workshops.

Looking ahead

We will continue to work with suppliers to move towards achieving our target of no deforestation by 2020. In 2017 we will complete the mapping and assessment of our supply chain in Chile, Japan and Mexico.

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