Nestlé balances growth and CSR

14 March 2013
VEVEY: Nestlé, the Swiss food group, has outlined 30 corporate social responsibility targets that it plans to achieve by 2020, reflecting a desire to drive growth and create "shared value" around the world.

"We fundamentally believe our company can only be successful over time if we also create value for society," Paul Bulcke, Nestlé's chief executive, said in a statement.

"We believe that by setting ourselves tangible, short-term goals for which we can be held accountable, rather than long-term aspirations, we can really make an impact."

The firm's goals include providing 200bn servings of food, drinks and supplements fortified with added nutrients around the world by 2016, with a focus on children and women of childbearing age.

It has set the same deadline for ensuring the packaging for all relevant products contain guideline daily amounts labelling, to assist consumers in making more informed dietary choices.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 35% in 2015 compared with 2005 levels is another aim, as is sourcing 100% of its palm oil sustainably by the close of 2013, two years ahead of an earlier target.

Taking a broader purview, Bulcke suggested that issues like nutrition and sustainability would require a collective response from companies, governments, NGOs and similar organisations.

He said: "At Nestlé, we recognise that our position in society brings not only opportunities, but also responsibilities. We can play a valuable leadership role in support of concerted action. We have the capacity and ... the determination to do so."

Last year, Nestlé modified 6,692 products to improve their nutrition or health credentials, and sold 100bn servings of iodine-enriched Maggi products.

It also now works directly with some 700,000 farmers, providing financial assistance to 44,000. More broadly, the firm reached 5.4m children with its "Healthy Kids" education programme.

"We have been measuring our performance and reporting on our progress for many years. What is new is that we are sharing the commitments we have made externally," said Bulcke.

Data sourced from Nestlé; additional content by Warc staff
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