We use pulp and paper for food packaging, wrapping and transportation, as well as for office stationery and marketing materials. Deforestation is a major challenge in pulp and paper production, with huge effects on the environment and habitats for plants, animals and people. We are committed to eliminating all deforestation from our supply chain.
58% of our total pulp and paper purchased in 2017 was responsibly sourced
91% of our total pulp and paper purchased in 2017 was traceable to its country of origin (virgin fibre only)
32% of our total pulp and paper purchased in 2017 was from recycled material
Our pulp and paper is sourced mostly from paper mills, converters and packaging manufacturers in Europe, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Russia and the United States. Well over 32% of the pulp and paper Nestlé uses involves recycled materials. Recycling in the pulp and paper industry is well established, but food safety requirements, quality and physical properties prevent us from using 100% recycled material. Recycled material is not considered as adding to deforestation, so we do not map and assess the upstream recycled supply chain for the same concerns as we would for ‘virgin’ pulp and paper.
Sourcing pulp and paper responsibly
We source our supplies from companies throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and West Africa. We aim to source only pulp and paper that meet our ‘no deforestation’ requirements, or at the very least come from suppliers making measurable progress to meeting them.
As well as focusing on deforestation and virgin fibre, our category-specific requirements for pulp and paper, developed in conjunction with our partner TFT, require:
- Adherence to local and national regulations and laws;
- Protection of high-carbon-stock forests;
- Protection of high conservation value (HCV) sites;
- No development on peat, regardless of depth; and
- Respecting the process of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
Our Responsible Sourcing Guideline (RSG) reinforces our specific commitments on deforestation and forest stewardship, rural development and water stewardship.
We also use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accreditation as a tool to demonstrate compliance. The FSC is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests, and best meets Nestlé’s criteria for credible certification.
Supply chain challenges and solutions
The biggest issue facing the supply chain is undoubtedly deforestation, something Nestlé has been at the forefront of addressing. Resolving this in the face of growing consumer demand is a major global challenge.
Deforestation and biodiversity loss
The main challenge within the pulp and paper supply chain is deforestation, a major environmental issue. Poor forest management is an issue, and rising consumer demand means tropical rainforests and associated peatlands, as well as HCV areas, have been cleared to make way for plantations. This has contributed to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, soil erosion, water pollution and a loss of biodiversity.
In 2010, Nestlé made a ‘no deforestation’ (pdf, 0.2 Mb) commitment, stating that all of its products, globally, will not be associated with deforestation by 2020 (we also support the Consumer Goods Forum’s ambition for zero net deforestation by 2020). This commitment, the first of its kind by a food company, covers all the raw materials we use to make our packaging.
Growing demand for fibre
Global paper consumption has been growing at a steady rate for decades and is looking to increase further with increased demand in rapidly growing economies. The production of pulp and paper therefore plays a hugely important role as an industry to shape forests worldwide, with pulpwood grown in a vast range of landscapes and societies. Most pulp is still produced in North America, Europe, China and Japan, with fibre sourced from these countries/regions and from further afield. However, large investment is flowing to South America, Africa, Asia and Russia, attracted by lower production costs, shorter rotations in the tropics, and in some cases the availability of natural forest fibre. While fibre from new expansion fronts does not currently enter our supply, we are seeking to be more proactive to better understand where expansion is happening and what groups are expanding. For those with which we have existing links through our ongoing responsible sourcing work on pulp and paper, we are looking at how we can ensure that the requirements of our RSG are considered prior to plantation establishment.
Innovating for improvement
Innovations are being implemented in our supply chains to achieve ever-greater resource efficiency. These included developing improved varieties through tree breeding, soil mapping and other technologies, enabling less land to be used to grow the fibre we need. The use of recovered fibre is also becoming an important component of some of our packaging products. While this also helps to reduce the demands on virgin fibre, and therefore forests, which is positive, we are also aware that there could be other impacts. We are seeking a better understanding of these issues and where and how we can play a role in managing them effectively.
In late 2017, we undertook a scoping visit to a recovered-paper producer as well as upstream collection centres in Brazil. We are currently reviewing the findings, but the initial analysis indicates that these supply chains are complex and, given the informalities within the sector, have social challenges. Together with our partner TFT, we are now determining what next steps should be taken.