HomeEnvironment & ClimateNestle Nigeria: The Crowning of the Eco-Friendly Food Manufacturing Company of the...

Nestle Nigeria: The Crowning of the Eco-Friendly Food Manufacturing Company of the Year

By Jeremiah Agada

When deserving individuals, brands and organisations took the centre stage at the prestigious MUSON Centre in Onikan, Lagos, to receive accolades and encomiums for their environmentally sustainable practices, initiatives, culture, and operations for the year under review-2021 to 2022, Nestle Nigeria was not missing in the mix.

The occasion was the maiden edition for of the Environmental Sustainability Conference, Expo and Awards, ECOSEA. The organizing platforms…? Impact Reports Africa-a continental-based sustainability-focused media platform and Brand Communicator Magazine-a publication that has serially received awards for its eco-centric contents over the years.

The event which held last week Wednesday had Nestle Nigeria carting home the grand award for the ‘Eco-Friendly Food Manufacturing Company of the Year’ for 2022. Its emergence to win this award is a no brainer considering its antecedents in promoting environmental sustainability, sourcing for its raw materials locally, empowering farmers through its Creating Shared Value (CSV) principles to deliver results that ensures a win-win situation between it, the communities it sources materials from, the farmers that form part of its key stakeholders, among others.

Its CSV priorities are those areas where it is uniquely positioned to create the most value and make the most difference. These include nutrition-to enable healthier and happier lives for individuals and families: Over 50,000 children reached with nutrition education in the last 6 years. It also has Rural Development-to help develop thriving and resilient communities by supporting improvement of livelihoods: Over 65,000 farmers trained on good farming practices between 2018 and 2021. It has water- to provide access to this essential need for good life: over 14 million litres of clean water accessed by schools and communities around our factories in 2021. And, it has My Own Business Project (MYOWBU)-providing Beverage Solutions to consumers through the My Own Business (MYOWBU) Scheme where over 1,300 youths are empowered to earn a daily living by running their own businesses.

As commendable as all these initiatives are, organisers of ECOSEA reveal that the major consideration was on the environmental issues the company has addressed in the year under review. As far back as 2019, the company had announced a new ambition to achieve zero net GHG emissions by 2050, in line with the UN climate pledge.

Nestlé To Source 50% Of Coffee Through Regenerative Agric Methods

This ambition piggybacks on an earlier commitment Nestlé made to achieve its environmental commitments in Central and West Africa and across the globe. The company’s environmental commitments are part of the Nestlé in Society report ‘Creating Shared Value and meeting our commitments 2013’.

In it, it made a total of 35 pledges that cover nutrition, water, rural development, environmental sustainability and compliance, which it aims to fulfil by 2020 or earlier. Six of these primarily focus on the environment.

To further guide its efforts, Nestlé identified several key actions: fight deforestation, reduce food loss and waste, work with farmers to reduce GHG emissions, develop alternative packaging solutions, and help suppliers manage soils through regenerative agriculture and tree planting.

Indeed, its journey from last year to become the most eco-friendly manufacturing company in the country kicked off with a massive investment of 1.2 billion in Swiss Francs (which is an equivalent of N535bn based on Nigeria’s exchange rate of N444.98 as at the time of the announcement, last year) in regenerative agriculture in five years. The move, according Nestle is to protect and restore the environment, improve the livelihoods of farmers and enhance the well-being of farming communities.

Nestlé unveils plans to support regenerative food system

In a statement issued by the company through its chairman, Paul Bulcke, it disclosed that they will spark regenerative agriculture across the company’s supply chain, using three primary levers to help farmers adopt regenerative practices. According to the release, the levers include applying state-of-the-art science and technology, providing technical assistance, offering investment support and paying premiums for regenerative agricultural goods.

The statement reads in part, “Nestlé will work with its food system partners, including the company’s network of more than 500,000 farmers and 150,000 suppliers, to advance regenerative farming practices at the heart of the food system. As part of this journey, the company will also initiate new programs to help address the social and economic challenges of the transition,”

Mr Bulcke added; “We know that regenerative agriculture plays a critical role in improving soil health, restoring water cycles and increasing biodiversity for the long term. These outcomes form the foundation of sustainable food production and, crucially, also contribute to achieving our ambitious climate targets.”

Additionally, Nestle is, for example, is developing higher-yielding coffee and cocoa varieties with lower environmental impact and assessing novel solutions to reduce emissions in the dairy supply chain. Nestle is also offering agricultural training and helping farmers exchange information and best practices that can be adapted locally.

The Company is also offering investment support because they are aware that the transition to regenerative agriculture comes with initial risks and new costs. It is supporting farmers by co-investing with them, facilitating lending or helping them obtain loans for specific equipment. The company is also working with partners to fund pilot projects to test and learn how best to advance regenerative agriculture.

Additionally, Nestlé Nigeria PLC, in collaboration with International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) / 2Scale, is helping farmers improve their livelihoods by empowering smallholder farmers on sustainable farming practices under the initiative, Nestlé Nigeria & IFDC/2Scale Project Sorghum & Millet.

Nestlé, together with its implementing partners, has made significant impacts in the past two years, training over 7905 sorghum and 1069 millet farmers on good agricultural pre-harvest and post-harvest practices. 22% of these farmers are women. The farmers testify to a significant increase in income.

This change is due to an increase in productivity, improved crop quality and the availability of a ready market, which eliminates the negative influence of middlemen. Before Nestlé Nigeria & IFDC/2Scale Project Sorghum & Millet’s intervention, the yield per hectare was 0.9 tons.

Also, at this year’s World Milk Day, Nestlé Nigeria made its commitment known to build a sustainable dairy ecosystem in Nigeria. The company’s corporate communication and public affairs manager, Victoria Uwadoka who disclosed this in Abuja during the celebration, said the company will achieve the plan by facilitating better health for the herds and better skills for the farmers.

Addressing herders at the FCT grazing reserve in Paikon- Kore, Gwagwalada, Uwadoka noted that past efforts by the company in collaboration with partners has facilitated the rise in milk production at the collection centre to 1200 liters per day with the capacity to collect up to 3000 litres per day as it goes along in the project. She added that the projects is geared towards creating shared value with herders’ communities, sustainable ecosystem and improving livelihoods through quality and healthy milk production.

The company also enjoys a level of partnership with Wecylers, a start-up recycling firm to achieve a clean and healthy environment whilst driving for zero environmental impact in its operations.

Nestlé Nigeria, Wecylers tackle plastic waste pollution in Lagos

Indeed, Nestle Nigeria’s award fits perfectly as the list of Nestle Nigeria’s activities is endless and this goes to show that the company is well focused on limiting the impact of its activities on the environment while striving to achieve its net zero target. Indeed, other corporate organisations who wish to positively impact the environment can borrow a leaf from it.

 

 

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