Nestlé uses pulp and paper products for food packaging, wrapping and transportation, as well as in our office stationery and marketing materials.
Our responsible sourcing work concentrates on packaging with a specific focus on corrugated, micro flute boards, and solid boards. We are committed to eliminating deforestation from our supply chain and addressing associated challenges like forest degradation and its impact on carbon storage, biodiversity and community well-being. However, working towards a deforestation-free supply chain is Nestlé's first step in our Forest Positive strategy. This aims to move beyond managing deforestation risks in our supply chain to targeting a positive impact on our broader sourcing landscapes.
Our progress toward sustainable pulp and paper sourcing
Our approach to sourcing pulp and paper sustainably
We aim to source only pulp and paper that meet our Responsible Sourcing Standard, or at the very least, come from suppliers who are making measurable progress toward meeting it. Since 2018, we have published a list of our direct suppliers and related pulp mills in our upstream supply chain (pdf, 200Kb). Doing so helps to hold our suppliers (and ourselves) accountable while driving industry-wide transparency and allows us to focus on supplier progress and tackling the most relevant supply chain challenges. We have seen others following suit, which is encouraging, though more effort is needed within our sector.
Tackling deforestation and degradation risks
For over 10 years, we have worked on the ground to trace where our raw materials come from to assess and address deforestation-risks in our supply chains – and to ensure they are not linked to deforestation. We have endeavored to ensure our pulp and paper supply chain is assessed deforestation-free, and reached 99.9% in 2022. We are now committed to improving and maintaining that status.
Our Forest Positive strategy also aims to address forest degradation and the loss of key forest attributes, such as biodiversity and carbon storage. These can lead to fragmentation and, ultimately, deforestation.
In practice, this means engaging supply chain partners to understand their operations and potential expansion plans. It also means collaborating to find a balance between production and protection. These efforts allow us to support healthy and productive forest landscapes in line with our Responsible Sourcing Standard, Net Zero Roadmap and Forest Positive strategy, which goes beyond tackling deforestation.
Our specific sourcing requirements for pulp and paper, developed in conjunction with Earthworm, include:
- Adherence to local and national regulations and laws
- Protection of High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) forests
- Protection of high-conservation-value sites
- No development on peat, regardless of depth
- Respecting the process of free, prior and informed consent
We are also partnering with Airbus and Earthworm Foundation to use Starling satellite technology to identify forest loss in our sourcing landscapes. It will also help us understand whether this is resulting in the deforestation and degradation of High Carbon Value (HCV) forests. Following the development of base maps, we undertook field missions in 2019 to gauge the accuracy of the data. We have since used this technology to analyze changes in forest cover across four key priority landscapes: Northwest Russia; South-eastern United States; British Columbia, Canada; and Sumatra, Indonesia. This increased visibility allows us to observe changes in real-time. The information has informed more targeted discussions with suppliers on forest cover change alerts and supported the development of forest-positive interventions and solutions with them and other stakeholders.
We also use Starling data from the four key priority landscapes to map trends in forest biomass and carbon to support future resource use planning decisions. Our commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 will continue to push us to seek new innovations to inset emissions through restoration and conservation activities in these landscapes and other forest sources with our pulp and paper suppliers.
Collective action and engagement
We recognize we need to take action to tackle deforestation and degradation risks associated with our pulp and paper supply chain. However, as a single organization, we do not always have the leverage to drive and scale up change. This is why we engage in industry-wide collaborations like the Consumer Goods Forum’s Forest Positive Coalition which helps drive collective action. We also actively seek opportunities to collaborate with like-minded companies on key issues and in priority landscapes, including the following initiatives.
Social conflicts around land use and land rights are frequent in Brazil and throughout Latin America. We support Earthworm Foundation’s Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) training program, which aims to address expertise gaps in this field. The program, in conjunction with 3M, is establishing a set of practices in the private sector that protect community rights and prevent social conflicts by creating shared values between forestry companies and local communities, including indigenous peoples.
We also have a five-year partnership with FSC Brazil and the Cooperative Program for Forest Certification within the Forestry Research Institute of the University of São Paulo. Through the partnership, we will promote and improve social management practices, including the development of FPIC training.
In partnership with Earthworm Foundation, we support the Rurality program which supports producers and buyers to build stronger connections with stakeholders and improve livelihoods and social conditions.
Transformative actions in Vietnam include providing coordination, logistics and training to support farmers. We have helped farmers plant over half a million high-quality acacia seedlings which will increase net profit from acacia by 20%, while improving soil fertility.
Through co-funding with One Tree Planted, over 30 000 tree species and over 90 000 other species (bamboo and vetiver) have been planted to help reduce soil erosion, protect threatened species and habitat resilience, and sequester carbon within our supply chain.
In Indonesia, we are involved in efforts to protect remaining forests and peatland from degradation and deforestation in the Giam Siak Kecil-Bukit Batu bioreserve of Riau, Sumatra Island. The reserve covers over 700 000 hectares and is predominantly tropical peat swamp forest. It plays a vital role as a natural water reservoir and carbon sink and is home to important wildlife such as Sumatran elephants and tigers. Of the total area, 25% is already allocated for conservation purposes. The remaining 75% is a mix of production areas for pulp and paper, palm oil, and company and community-owned agriculture. The presence of multiple actors in this area has resulted in a complicated overlap of interests, various tenure conflicts and human versus wildlife conflicts. The enduring presence of illegal logging and land conversion is also contributing to forest degradation in the area.
In addition to using Starling satellite technology to understand where forest is being cleared, we are working with stakeholders to identify motives for land conversion. In 2020, we invested in Earthworm Foundation’s Kumacaya Initiative, an independent verification system that employs local people to monitor activities and record any environmental, community and labor grievances observed by local communities. By combining insights from Kumacaya with data collected by Starling and engaging with the relevant companies and stakeholders, we can identify solutions that prevent deforestation and biodiversity loss while supporting local community livelihoods.
In 2020, we began contributing to the provision of alternative livelihoods for community members in two local villages outside of our supply chain. Following a year of engagement facilitated by Earthworm Foundation, 30 community members who previously worked as illegal loggers are now cultivating local multi-purpose trees including durian, dog fruit, areca nut and candlenut. Nestlé funding supported the development of village nurseries to prepare these, and other, local seedlings to help restore forests. Earthworm Foundation will continue supporting these communities until the new plantations generate satisfactory yields. We aim to expand this work to additional villages in the area and train a local forest patrol group.