Nestlé targets net-zero emissions

Nestlé is implementing a plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As the world’s largest food and beverage company, 95 percent of its emissions are derived from activities in the supply chain, said Daniel Peerless, Nestlé Global’s sustainable-sourcing lead for dairy, meat, poultry and eggs. Looking deeper, 71 percent of its emissions are from sourcing ingredients. Dairy and livestock ingredients account for the single-largest source of emissions at 34.2 million tons in 2018.

Instead of sourcing less dairy, the company is undergoing a major shift in how its ingredients are sourced and produced, Peerless said. The investment will have downstream effects for the 18 companies with a presence in Wisconsin that Nestlé sources dairy ingredients from, according to a 2019 supply-chain disclosure.

A particular point of emphasis for Nestlé is cutting methane emissions produced by animals because methane holds more carbon in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, he said. The company is introducing new feed additives and dietary supplements to reduce methane produced during digestion, known as enteric fermentation.

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Nestlé is also researching and developing new technologies such as improved manure management and the use of biogas digesters. Altogether the company’s actions will reduce emissions from sourcing dairy and livestock ingredients by 21 million tons by 2030, Peerless said. That represents a 23 percent reduction in its supply-chain carbon footprint compared to 2018. A test farm in South Africa reduced its herd size by 100 cows but increased its milk yield by 12 percent. It also increased the active carbon in the soil by 53 percent by sequestering 4,700 tons of carbon dioxide.

Peerless said the company doesn’t want to implement top-down mandates each supplier adheres to. Instead of micromanaging each production site, the company works with producers and cooperatives to ensure each site is compliant with regenerative practices.

Peerless presented “Putting it in Perspective” during Carbon Conference 2.0 presented by the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, held Jan. 30 in Madison, Wisconsin. Visit nestle.com – search for “net zero roadmap” – and pdpw.org for more information.

This is an original article written for Agri-View, a Lee Enterprises agricultural publication based in Madison, Wisconsin. Visit AgriView.com for more information.

Carter Jones writes about agriculture as a staff reporter for Agri-View based in Wisconsin.