Updated: Dec 03, 2020, 14:19 IST
Nestle SA, the world’s largest food company, said it will invest 3.2 billion Swiss francs ($3.6 billion) over the next five years in an effort to fight climate change.
The company will plant 200 million trees over the next decade and help farmers and suppliers shift toward regenerative agriculture, the KitKat maker said Thursday. Nespresso, Perrier and San Pellegrino will become carbon-neutral by 2022, with the rest of its bottled water portfolio doing so by 2025.
The food industry is stepping up attempts to burnish its reputation amid criticism for environmental damage and packaging waste. Nestle is already spending as much as 2 billion francs in an attempt to promote more food-safe recycled plastics. PepsiCo Inc. pledged Wednesday to only use recycled plastic in its namesake brand’s bottles in nine European markets by 2022. And Danone, which bottles Evian, has announced a 2 billion-euro ($2.4 billion) sustainability investment over the next three years.
“Business leaders can no longer afford to be skeptical and interminably patient,” Nestle Chief Executive Officer Mark Schneider said in an op-ed in Fortune magazine. “We should not expect comprehensive public policy and unanimity to do the job for us.”
Schneider compared the situation to what executives in the car industry faced in the 1970s and 1980s, choosing to invest billions of dollars to make smaller, more fuel-efficient cars that were less profitable.
Nestle said it plans to get 100% of its electricity from renewable sources at its 800 factories within the next five years, and will expand its offering of plant-based food and beverages.
When Nestle set a target to reach zero net greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 last year, Schneider said climate change is one of the greatest risks to the company’s future business.
Nestle said the measures it’s taking will help halve carbon emissions by 2030.