Nestle Sustainability Report: Direct GHGs Fell 7.7 Percent, Per Production, in 2011
Nestle’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 3.8 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2011, while its production volume increased by 3.4 percent, according to the company’s 2011 corporate sustainability report.
Per metric ton of product, Nestlé reduced its direct greenhouse emissions from 91 kg of CO2e in 2010 to 84 kg of CO2e in 2011, a drop of 7.7 percent. Since 2001, the company has experienced a 0.8 million ton (17.4 percent) reduction in CO2e, or a 52 percent reduction per ton of production, during a period when production volume increased by 73 percent.
The report does not supply absolute figures for the total amount of CO2 equivalent Nestlé was responsible for in 2011 or any other year.
The company’s indirect greenhouse gas emissions from purchased energy increased by 2.8 percent year-on-year in 2011 to 3.2 million metric tons, equal to a 0.5 percent reduction per metric ton of product compared to 2010, the report says.
Nestlé has a short term goal of reducing is greenhouse emissions by 5 percent by 2015, but does not provide a baseline year against which the reductions will be measured.
One of the ways the company has tried to cut its carbon emissions is through the use of natural refrigerants in manufacturing and point of sale units. The company has now phased out more than 90 percent of refrigerants with what it calls “high global warming and ozone depleting potential” in its industrial operations, and has shifted its focus to smaller refrigeration systems, such as ice cream freezers in stores.
In Switzerland all new Nestlé ice cream freezers now use hydrocarbon refrigerants and have fans that improve energy efficiency by 80 percent. The company is planning roll-outs of these types of freezers in Australia, Spain, Malaysia, Chile and the United States. Nestlé expects the freezers to cut its greenhouse emissions by 10,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent over their 10-year life span.
In 2011, the company’s on-site energy consumption was 90 million GJ, which equates to 2 GJ per metric ton of product – a two percent reduction compared to 2010. Since 2001, Nestlé has maintained its energy consumption while increasing its production volume by 73 percent. It attributes the improvement to energy reduction initiatives at a factory level, changes in its product mix and changes resulting from acquisitions and divestments.
Nestlé’s Energy Target Setting Initiative completed 16 projects in 2011, during which it identified more than 379 projects that totaled an investment of CHF86 million ($93 million). These projects resulted in an annual energy savings of about 8 million GJ and a reduction of around 191,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent.
Renewable energy accounted for 12 percent of Nestlé’s energy consumption in 2011. Some 3.5 percentage points of this figure come from reusing spent coffee ground to create fuel, 2.8 percentage points come from wood burning and an estimated 5.3 percentage points comes from the purchase of electrical energy from external renewable sources.
From 2012, following a power purchase agreement with CISA-Gamesa, 85 percent of the total electricity consumed by Nestlé factories in Mexico will be supplied by wind power. The food company estimates that the project will reduce air emissions, including those from greenhouse gas, by more than 120,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent annually.
The company’s stated aim is to be the most efficient water user among food manufacturers. It has a short-term goal to reduce its water consumption and water discharges on a comparable basis by 10 percent, by 2015. The report does not clearly state a baseline against which this will be measured.
Last year, Nestlé withdrew 143 million cubic meters of water, or 3.17 cubic meters per metric ton of product. This is a 4 percent reduction in withdrawal per metric ton product from 2010. Since 2001 the company’s water withdrawals have fallen by 28 percent, the report says.
At the Nestlé Waters San Pellegrino plant in Italy, the company has developed a “cascade” system that enables water to be used twice for washing and rinsing bottles, while still maintaining hygiene levels. The plant saves 119,000 cubic meters per year through its water-saving processes.
Nestlé was one of 185 companies, including Shell, Unilever and Alcoa, that in October called on the government to take action to keep the global rise in temperatures below two degrees Celsius.
The companies called for governments to agree a “robust, equitable and effective agreement” at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Durban, South Africa last December, saying that without such a deal, business won’t have enough certainty to invest to its full potential.
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