of our total pulp and paper purchased in 2018 was responsibly sourced*
Pulp and paper
We use pulp and paper products for food packaging, wrapping and transportation, as well as for office stationery and marketing materials. Deforestation is a key challenge in some geographies where pulp and paper is produced, with serious consequences for the environment in terms of ecosystem services, habitats for plants and animals, and also people who depend upon forests. We are committed to eliminating deforestation from our supply chain, as well as addressing other associated challenges such as forest degradation.
Sourcing pulp and paper responsibly
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.
We buy packaging paper and boxes directly from printers and packaging manufacturers worldwide. Well over 50% 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 materials. We don’t map and assess the upstream supply for recycled material in the same way that we do for virgin pulp and paper – this is because recycled material isn’t considered as adding to deforestation.
As well as focusing on deforestation and virgin fiber, our category-specific requirements for pulp and paper, developed in conjunction with our partner Earthworm Foundation, require:
- Adherence to local and national regulations and laws.
- Protection of high-carbon-stock forests.
- Protection of high conservation value sites.
- No development on peat, regardless of depth.
- Respecting the process of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
Our Responsible Sourcing Standard (pdf, 2Mb) 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 NGO dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests, and best meets Nestlé’s criteria for credible certification.
Our main sources of pulp and paper
Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Sweden, USA.
* Our pulp and paper baseline volume is an estimate based on supply chain mapping conducted in 2017 which identified 13 priority countries and specific categories of paper that are relevant for our responsible sourcing programme. This has led to a reduced scope on which our traceability and responsibly sourced percentages are based compared to previous years.
Supply chain challenges and solutions
Deforestation and biodiversity loss
Our ‘no deforestation’ commitment
In 2010, we made a ‘no deforestation’ commitment (pdf, 205Kb), stating that all of our 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. Our commitment was the first of its kind by a food company and covers all the raw materials we use to make our packaging, as well as foods and beverages.
One of the key challenges within the pulp and paper supply chain is deforestation, a major environmental issue. Poor forest management is also an issue, and rising consumer demand for paper products means forests around the world, from tropical rainforests to boreal forest and associated peatlands, as well as high conservation value areas, have been cleared or harvested to make way for plantations or intensively managed forests. This has contributed to greenhouse gas emissions, soil erosion, water pollution, fragmentation of forest areas and a loss of biodiversity.
Growing demand for fiber
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 pulp and paper industry plays a hugely important role in shaping forests worldwide, as pulpwood is grown in a vast range of landscapes and societies.
Most pulp is still produced in North America, Europe, China and Japan, using fiber sourced from these countries/regions and from further afield. Large investment is also 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 fiber, in the context of temperate and boreal sourcing regions.
While fiber from new expansion fronts does not currently enter our supply, as it takes at least seven years from planting to harvest, 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 exert leverage where possible to ensure that the requirements of our Responsible Sourcing Standard are considered before plantation establishment.
Innovating for improvement
We need to make progress faster to improve traceability, and innovations – particularly in digital technologies – are a key part of this. In 2018, we started using SupplyShift, a cloud-based platform that helps us collect and analyze data to map our supply chain, for all of our corrugated and solid board suppliers globally. Once embedded, it will help us gain actionable data more frequently and with improved accuracy.
We are also partnering with Airbus and Earthworm Foundation to pilot Starling, a satellite-based service that will help us determine where forest losses are resulting in deforestation, and where trees are being cut down. We are already using the program in our palm oil supply chain, and are exploring the possibility of using the technology to also support forest productivity and resource use planning, which would in turn provide value for our suppliers in terms of better data to responsibly manage their stocks.
We are also exploring other innovations, including developing improved varieties through tree breeding, soil mapping and other technologies, enabling less land to be used to grow the fiber we need. The use of recovered fiber is also becoming an important component of some of our packaging products. While this also helps to reduce the demands on virgin fiber, 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 centers 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 Earthworm Foundation, we are now determining what next steps should be taken. We have also extended our recovered paper work to India this year.
Our partnership with Earthworm aims to transform our wood chip supply chain in Vietnam
We share a goal with Earthworm: to end deforestation by developing practical solutions in supply chains. Since 2015, we’ve worked with them on Rurality – an initiative that sees small, independent farmers as entrepreneurs and supports them in making their business stronger and more resilient through innovation.
Vietnam is the world’s largest exporter of hardwood wood chips, with acacia plantations covering up to 1.5 million hectares. Over half of this is managed by smallholders – about 25?000 small-tree farmers – who are often working on degraded lands. Acacia is crucial to the rural economy, but because of their economic situations, many farmers work their farms for quick returns and minimal risk – that means short rotations of four to six years, and small-diameter logs that are suitable for conversion to wood chips.
There is little opportunity for these farmers to learn best practices, and so they often damage soil structures, remove organic matter and make erosion worse. This decreases soil fertility. There is also a lack of awareness about chemicals and safe working practices.
Smallholders contribute a lot to the economy, and Rurality aims to support them in making their farms sustainable and more profitable. Our goal is to get the entire supply chain engaged. The project starts small, with demonstration sites and by piloting new ideas. It then nurtures the most successful ones and shares them across the supply chain.
In 2018, we selected one wood chip mill, Cat Phu Vung Tau, to start engaging with the smallholders who provide about 40% of the mill’s wood. We also completed a diagnostic picture of the whole area with Son My People’s committee commune authority. As we enter the next phase of the project, this partnership will offer support to farmers and engage with other local stakeholders like the Farmers Union. We are also identifying a government partner for the project.
We have focused mostly on developing training material for farmers, and a selection of four lead farmers will pilot best management practices.
We aim to drive industry-wide transparency. As such, we are publishing a list of our direct suppliers (pdf, 380Kb) and pulp mills (pdf, 370Kb) in our upstream supply chain. This will help us to focus our resources on tackling local challenges to drive responsible forest management. We also hope that our move will encourage others to follow suit, to make transparency the industry norm. As with any traceability efforts, this is a snapshot that reflects our supply chain-mapping efforts over the last few years, updated in 2017, which is a mix of self-declaration and paper-based verification. It should not be taken as fully exhaustive or fully accurate, as supply chain flows evolve on a daily basis.
- Rural Development Framework, update 2015 (pdf, 2Mb)
- Commitment on Child Labour in Agricultural Supply Chains (pdf, 200Kb)
- Corporate Business Principles (pdf, 1Mb)
- Responsible Sourcing Standard (pdf, 2Mb)
- Commitment on Deforestation and Forest Stewardship (pdf, 300Kb)
- Commitment on Farm Animal Welfare (pdf, 1Mb)
- Natural Capital: Water in Agriculture (pdf, 6Mb)
- Natural Capital: Biodiversity (pdf, 4Mb)
- Nestlé Cocoa & Forests Initiative Action Plan (pdf, 860Kb)