Story at a glance
- Nestlé announced a new initiative to move toward renewable energy and sustainable agricultural practices.
- It intends to be net zero by 2050.
Nestlé became the latest corporate conglomerate to advance its climate-friendly agenda, announcing Thursday a new $3.58 billion investment in a bid to halve the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
A major component of the food company’s plan is to focus on shifting its supplying farmers to more sustainable and regenerative agriculture practices. Moving the company’s operations to renewable energy by 2025 is also part of the investment, as well as planting 20 million trees over the next decade.
"Tackling climate change can't wait and neither can we. It is imperative to the long-term success of our business," said Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO. "We have a unique opportunity to address climate change, as we operate in nearly every country in the world and have the size, scale and reach to make a difference. We will work together with farmers, industry partners, governments, non-governmental organizations and our consumers to reduce our environmental footprint."
2018 data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that agriculture and farming account for about 10 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Scaling back certain practices in the sector, such as not overly-fertilizing crops and improved livestock management, can help cut emissions.
Of the $3.58 billion, $1.35 billion will be allocated toward regenerative agriculture.
"With nearly two-thirds of our emissions coming from agriculture, it is clear that regenerative agriculture and reforestation are the focal points of our path to net zero,” said Magdi Batato, executive vice president and head of operations. “These efforts will reduce emissions and improve biodiversity at scale.”
Nestlé said it emitted roughly 92 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2018 alone.
In addition to incentivizing its 500,000 partner farmers to improve ecosystem health to reduce emissions, the company plans to target its electricity consumption.
Electricity consumption is a stronger source of emissions, accounting for about 27 percent of all U.S. emissions.
Nestlé's 800 company-owned sites are slated to be powered by renewable energy in the next five years, and its vehicle fleet will be switched to lower emissions models.