Last week, I sat down with Nestlé's Head of Public Affairs and ESG Engagement, Rob Cameron. We talked about Nestlé's latest sustainability reporting, big developments underway, and the top takeaways that stuck out to both of us from our very different perspectives. Here are our top three:
Honorable mention: While it wasn't from the report itself, getting the chance to try Quality Street in its new paper packaging was a highlight for me – with a cup of Nescafé, of course!
1. Big scale can mean big impact, with 129.2 billion servings of affordable nutrition delivered.
Whether you've worked with Nestlé for more than a decade or just a few months, it's pretty incredible to take a step back and realize the scale of the impact we have. Micronutrient fortification is one area that really comes to life. Our family favorites such as Maggi, Bear Brand, and Cerevita are popular and affordable, so we fortify brands like these with at least one of the Big 4 micronutrients: iron to prevent iron deficiency anaemia and maintain brain and physical development, Iodine for optimal brain development and a healthy metabolism, Vitamin A for growth and development, good eye health, and a strong immune system, and Zinc for growth and development and a strong immune system.
2. Packaging sustainability is improving through new types of end-to-end innovation.
As a consumer, I didn't think that much about the products I'd use before and after they got to me. Now that I see behind the scenes' on food, there's so much that's happening to make product packaging work end-to-end. Nestlé teams are working towards a circular economy with better packaging, less packaging, and better systems. That includes reducing our use of newly made (or virgin) plastic, piloting reuse and refill systems, expanding our use of paper packaging, and helping create well-functioning collection, sorting, and recycling systems across the countries where we operate.
3. Leveraging regenerative agriculture to help farmers and the planet.
For Rob, some of the most exciting developments when it comes to sustainability are around taking a more fundamentally holistic approach to supporting both people and planet. The new Nescafé Plan for 2030 is one example where there's a heavy emphasis on regenerative agriculture including work on agroforestry, reducing use of synthetic fertilizers, improving soil health, and improving biodiversity. That work makes a positive difference for the land - it's absolutely essential for both biodiversity and climate impact - but the Nescafé Plan also works to make a positive difference for people, because we can't forget the farmers themselves. That's why the latest work on farmer livelihoods and incomes brings a critical piece to our partnership with farm families and communities.