Nestlé: towards the transition to a regenerative food system
Support plan for the environment, the subsistence of farmers and the well-being of agricultural communities presented
Protecting and restoring the environment, improving the livelihoods of farmers and the well-being of agricultural communities: with these objectives, Nestlé is working globally on its plans to support and accelerate the transition to a regenerative food system. In collaboration with its partners, including the network of more than 500,000 farmers and 150,000 suppliers, the company will contribute to the advancement of regenerative practices in the food system. Nestlé will also launch new programs to help address the social and economic challenges of this transition.
The announcement comes at the United Nations Food Systems Summit in New York, as part of Nestlé's commitments to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The communication also follows the Group's recent report intergovernmental panel on climate change which shows that the climate crisis is intensifying. “We are aware that agriculture plays a vital role in improving soil health, restoring the water cycle and increasing long-term biodiversity”, said Paul Bulcke , Nestlé's chairman. "These results form the basis of sustainable food production and, fundamentally, also contribute to the achievement of our ambitious climate goals".
Nestlé is one of the signatories of the United Nations “Business Ambition for 1.5 ° C” pledge and was one of the first companies to share its detailed and deadline plan in December 2020. The company is taking steps to halve its emissions by 2030 and reach zero by 2050 (see EFA News article of 24-4-21). “Through our long-standing partnerships with agricultural communities around the world we want to increase our support for agricultural practices that are good for the environment and for people,” said Mark Schneider , CEO of the Group. "In order to support a smooth transition, it is essential for us to help farmers around the world who bear the costs and risks associated with the transition to regenerative agriculture".
Nestlé Italia also contributes to the realization of this global commitment thanks to a project that focuses on the traditional cultivation of tomatoes. In collaboration with Steriltom, historic supplier of tomato pulp for Buitoni pizzas, the company launched a first regenerative agriculture project in Italy at the beginning of 2021 which, thanks to "smart" probes installed in the fields, helps to save more 40% water for irrigation of tomatoes. The program is based on the installation of 8 probes (tensiometers) that monitor an area of Piacenza, equal to 62 hectares completely dedicated to Nestlé for the cultivation of about 2,700 tons of tomatoes destined each year for the Buitoni plant in Benevento, the Hub for the Group's frozen pizza.
Through a mobile device that communicates with the sensors on the probe, farmers are able to obtain updates and detailed information on soil moisture conditions. This ensures greater irrigation efficiency, significantly reducing water waste and allowing the plant to always receive the amount of water actually needed. Thus the tomato plants remain healthy and, consequently, are more reactive and resistant in case of pathogenic attacks or particularly intense heat waves, allowing to limit the use of any chemical treatments and thus safeguarding biodiversity. Furthermore, this practice also contributes to protecting the fertility of the soil, safeguarding its organic substances.
"We are particularly proud of this project which represents a first, but important step in the path we are taking in Italy to support the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices in our supply chain", said Marco Travaglia , president and CEO of the Nestlé Italy and Malta Group. . “Companies operating in the agri-food sector have the duty and the opportunity to contribute to a change of direction, which is positive for the environment, communities, for ourselves and for future generations”.
Internationally, Nestlé will invest Chf 1.2 billion over the next five years to promote regenerative agriculture throughout its supply chain.
EFA News - European Food Agency