Appointed in January 2022, Silvia Sticlea, the first Romanian woman to take over the Country Manager position in Nestlé Romania, managed to report an increase of 12.9% in the first quarter of the year, an increase attributed to the sustainable choices made by the company. That’s why Business Review sat down with her to talk about sustainability and the future of the food & beverages industry.
What are Nestle Romania’s main directions and objectives in terms of environment & sustainability?
Sustainability is a very important differentiator for Nestlé Romania. We are a sustainable business and we want to bring added value to the Romanian society through our healthy products and through the social responsibility projects we carry out. Climate change is affected by human interventions on the environment, so Nestlé’s objective is to play an active role in the development of collection, sorting and recycling systems by producing 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025.
Nestlé’s goal is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Net-zero emissions mean drastically reducing GHG emissions along the entire food chain, Farm-to-fork, along with the implementation of carbon dioxide storage projects in the soil and through tree plantings. To offset the amount of greenhouse gases up to net-zero emissions, the company has pledged to plant at least 20 million trees each year by 2030. More than two-thirds of Nestlé’s emissions come from the production of agricultural ingredients it uses. The company obtains these ingredients from 500,000 farms it works with directly and another 4.5 million farms involved through suppliers around the world. To combat agricultural emissions, Nestlé will transform together with its partners the way food is produced. Intensive farming practices will be transformed into regenerative agriculture, for the benefit of nature and in order to ensure a decent income for farmers. Particular attention is paid to supporting the younger generation working in agriculture.
Cocoa and coffee are two key ingredients that Nestlé uses in many of its products in the region. By 2025, 100% of Nestlé’s cocoa and coffee will be sustainably produced. By 2025, Nestlé will use 100% green electricity in all 800 international factories and offices. Already over 80 factories out of the 129 in the EMENA area use exclusively green energy.
A special place in Nestlé’s global portfolio is occupied by sustainable products, offering consumers interested in healthy, environmentally friendly or environmentally friendly products an alternative that does not compromise taste and flavor. The most recent example is the vast supply of plant-based foods and beverages. Some of our top brands will soon have a carbon neutral footprint: Garden Gourmet, S.Pellegrino, Perrier, Acqua Panna, Vittel, Nespresso, all by 2022.
We have also introduced Smarties to the market, which is the first global sweets brand to move to 100% recyclable paper packaging, thus eliminating approximately 250 million plastic packaging globally each year. Nestlé has voluntarily implemented Nutri-Score globally since 2019. In Romania, too, we started to communicate the rating on products, having products from several divisions that are in categories A and B.
It is very important for us as producers to invest in the packaging component, but also in sustainable products, that’s why we also have an institute – Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences in Switzerland – where we do research and development on the packaging design side. At the moment, in Romania, 92% of the packaging of our products can be recycled. For 2022 we do not have a specific target, but we want to maintain our ambition to have 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025.
Nestlé will invest CHF 3.2 billion globally over the next five years to accelerate work for net-zero emissions, including CHF 1.2 billion to trigger regenerative agriculture across the entire supply chain, farm-to-fork (Farm-to-fork). Nestlé has invested over 320 million euros in projects to support sustainable coffee production, distributed 235 million coffee trees worldwide and helped over 900,000 farmers grow and produce more high-quality coffee.
In addition to global campaigns that we adapt for the local market and turn them into education and awareness campaigns, we also have local projects, for example: Less Waste, More Love, POPAS, I Love Water and PACT.
What are the most efficient methods to educate the population in having a more responsible behaviour towards nutrition, but also towards sustainability in regards to food?
We contribute to a healthier life through the local corporate pillar – Add love for a healthy life:
The Nestlé for Healthier Kids initiative was created to unite all Nestlé’s efforts that support parents and guardians in raising healthier children, from product research and formulation to innovative education and nutrition services for a healthy lifestyle. In Romania, these efforts are materialized through partnerships with the national movement “I live healthy too – SETS”, developed by the PRAIS Foundation and the program “Traista cu sănătate”, initiated by Prof. Dr. Veronica Mocanu through the Healthy Traditions Foundation. As part of this initiative, we launched the Nestle for Healthier Kids Recipe Book, NutriPlate, VeggiePlate and we organize the annual International Chefs Day campaign to promote the importance of cooking with children for an early age.
NutriPlate is a method that can help you prepare balanced meals for your children and, at the same time, tasty for the whole family.
VeggiePlate can be downloaded from the www.nestle.ro/veggieportia website and is a guide to quantity, inspiration and diversity. VeggiePortia is addressed to those who have decided to taste life in healthy portions, for vegetarians and vegans, but also for those in love with the planet, who know that what we decide to put on the plate has a direct impact on the environment.
What future trends do you anticipate in the food & beverages industry?
There are three trends observed in the last 2-year period, which we have taken into account in the composition of our strategy for this year.
We have adapted to accelerating e-commerce and focused more on short- and medium-term options in terms of strategy. We are grateful to our business partners in retail and strategic partners for helping us fulfill our mission.
Eating at home and cooking at home with the family has led us to bring to the market products that come to the market to help our consumers, such as those from the Maggi range.
The pandemic and the lockdown have put the emphasis on sustainability, people have become aware of the importance of protecting the environment and that is why they buy products that are friendly to nature. A special place in Nestlé’s global portfolio is occupied by sustainable products, offering consumers interested in healthy, environmentally friendly or environmentally friendly products an alternative that does not compromise taste and savor. The most recent example is the vast supply of plant-based foods and beverages.