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Home » The Future Consumer » How food can bring us together for a more sustainable future

Kieran Conroy

Country Manager,
Nestlé Ireland

Matt Ryan

Regeneration Lead,
Nestlé UK and Ireland

Help drive sustainability forward. With robust targets to reduce emissions and through regenerative practices, we can reshape the food industry’s impact on climate.

At Nestlé, we champion being a force for good by collaborating with suppliers to promote sustainability through income initiatives, fostering the resilience of the food chain via regenerative agriculture and establishing ambitious environmental goals throughout our global supply network.

Driving sustainable food industry change

Our industry comes under as much scrutiny as any other, given it contributes a third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.1 That’s why the onus is on us to drive change. We’ve introduced robust targets to reduce emissions, and we’re using 100% renewable energy across our sites in Ireland, as well as innovating with more sustainable packaging.

We’re incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made so far, but we know it’s an ongoing journey. We’re acutely aware that it’s one we can’t take alone. If we’re going to make a real difference, it’s imperative that businesses across the industry work together.

Responsible sourcing and regenerative agriculture

Matt Ryan, Regeneration Lead at Nestlé UK and Ireland, says: “Scope 3 emissions are increasingly becoming part of conversations for businesses as we take greater responsibility for processes or actions that we don’t necessarily carry out ourselves, like sourcing and transporting raw ingredients used in our products.”

If we’re going to make a real difference, it’s imperative that businesses across the industry work together.

More than 70% of our carbon footprint comes from sourcing ingredients from farmers, so this is a focus area for us. That is why we are trying to do things differently through our work with farmers in Ireland. One way is by helping farmers implement regenerative agricultural practices.

We support and incentivise a holistic approach to farming that focuses on improving soil health, biodiversity and improving ecosystem functions — in harmony with high-quality food production. As a business, we have committed to sourcing 20% of ingredients through regenerative practices by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

Supporting farmers, improving livelihoods

We aim not just to protect the natural world but help farmers build resilient livelihoods by ensuring their land is fit for the future. Furthermore, we’re committed to supporting the next generation of farming communities, such as through initiatives to identify, nurture and develop new farming talent.

Our Income Accelerator Programme seeks to close the living income gap of cocoa-farming families and reduce child labour risk. To date, this programme is driving huge success. We have seen a 38% increase in net income by income accelerator communities, a 10% increase in child enrolment rates at school, a 55% increase in household investments and greater income diversification and improved financial access.

Over 10,000 families in Côte d’Ivoire have benefited from this programme so far. It will expand to Ghana this year, rising to 30,000 families. By 2030, the programme aims to reach an estimated 160,000 cocoa-farming families in Nestlé’s global cocoa supply chain to create an impact at scale.

Engaging consumers in sustainability

Moreover, we must ensure our consumers are engaged in our sustainability journey and can play their role. It’s important to share positive stories about the work we’re doing and highlight the choices shoppers can actively make to help drive progress. 

We highlight our dairy farmer partnerships in videos showcasing milk origins, regenerative farming significance and farm-friendly practices. Plus, we enable consumers to take immediate action by highlighting whether packaging is recyclable and promoting our packaging changes across our beloved brands.

Empowering consumers for collective impact

The challenges of addressing the climate crisis can feel daunting, leaving us disheartened and even powerless. That’s why we must remind people that the simple steps we take can add up to make a significant difference. By choosing brands committed to sustainability, consumers drive meaningful progress at scale.

Business collaboration can encourage consumers to make sustainable choices — by offering them sustainable products to choose from and by reminding them that their decisions have an impact.

UNIDO, June 2021

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