Nestlé has announced plans to transition to a regenerative food system, aiming to protect and restore the environment, improve farmers’ livelihoods and enhance farming communities’ wellbeing.
Nestlé will work with its food system partners, including the company’s network of more than 500,000 farmers and 150,000 suppliers, to advance regenerative farming practices in the food system. The company will also initiate new programs to help address the social and economic challenges of the transition.
The announcement was made in the lead up to the UN Food Systems Summit in New York, as part of Nestle’s contribution to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. It also follows the recent report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that shows the climate crisis is intensifying.
“We know that regenerative agriculture plays a critical role in improving soil health, restoring water cycles and increasing biodiversity for the long term,” Nestlé chairman Paul Bulcke said.
“These outcomes form the foundation of sustainable food production and, crucially, also contribute to achieving our ambitious climate targets.”
Nestlé is a signatory of the UN Business Ambition for 1.5°C pledge. The company is taking measures to halve its emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050.
“With our long-standing partnerships with farming communities globally, we want to increase our support for farming practices that are good for the environment and good for people,” Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider said.
“In the spirit of enabling a just transition, it is vital that we support farmers around the world that take on the risks and costs associated with the move towards regenerative agriculture.”
Nestlé is investing over 1.7 billion over the next five years to spark regenerative agriculture across the company’s supply chain, using three primary levers to help farmers adopt regenerative practices:
- Apply science and technology, provide technical assistance: Leveraging its vast network of R&D experts and agronomists, Nestlé is developing higher-yielding coffee and cocoa varieties with lower environmental impact and assessing novel solutions to reduce emissions in the dairy supply chain. Nestlé will also offer agricultural training and help farmers exchange information and best practices that can be adapted locally.
- Offer investment support: The transition to regenerative agriculture comes with initial risks and new costs. Nestlé will support farmers by co-investing with them, facilitating lending or helping them obtain loans for specific equipment. The company will also work with partners to fund pilot projects to test and learn how best to advance regenerative agriculture.
- Pay premiums for regenerative agriculture goods: Nestlé will offer premiums for many raw materials produced using regenerative agriculture practices and buy bigger quantities. This means rewarding farmers not only for the quantity and quality of ingredients, but also for the benefits they provide to the environment through soil protection, water management and carbon sequestration.
Nestlé has published the most important regenerative farming practices that it wants to promote, including enhancing biodiversity, soil conservation, water cycle regeneration and integrating livestock.
Agriculture accounts for nearly two-thirds of Nestlé’s total greenhouse gas emissions, with dairy and livestock making up about half of that. In dairy, Nestlé is assessing science and technology to reduce emissions at farm level. The company will work with 30 reference dairy farms in 12 countries to test scalable, climate-friendly and regenerative agricultural practices that help achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Nestlé is also working with farmers to select and cultivate nutritious and tasty pulse varieties, to be used as milk alternatives.
More information about Nestlé’s approach is available online.
Through supporting farming communities, regenerative agriculture can contribute to a regenerative food system. Nestlé is committed to supporting improved and diversified farmer incomes through its sustainability programs. It will also implement new living income programs for farmers in its value chain, to make farming more attractive.
Nestlé will unveil specific plans for its coffee and cocoa supply chains later this year.
To support young people who are passionate about farming, Nestlé is launching a new training platform in November to attract and train the next generation of farmers. The training will focus on regenerative agriculture practices and improving the resilience of farms to climate change for more than 40,000 farmers participating in one of Nestlé’s agripreneurship programs.
Nestlé’s regeneration efforts have launched under the umbrella title of “Generation Regeneration,” focused on farmers, youth, consumers and employees.