Nestlé Australia has switched to 100% renewable electricity, four years ahead of its global target of 2025. 

It means popular brands including KitKat, Milo and Nescafé are now being made at factories where electricity is sourced from wind power. 

Nestle Oceania Head of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Margaret Stuart said it was a significant milestone. 

“We made a commitment to reach zero net emissions by 2050 and to halve our emissions by 2030,” Ms Stuart said. 

“Part of our commitment is having all our factories using renewable electricity by 2025. 

“This sits within Nestle’s broader zero net emissions commitment. We’re also using renewable electricity in New Zealand and continuing down the path of taking steps to reduce emissions right throughout our business.” 

Nestle partnered with CWP Renewables to make its first renewable power purchase agreement (PPA), a 10-year deal that covers Nestlé’s six Australian factories, two distribution centres, three corporate offices, 20 retail boutiques and laboratory. 

CWP Renewables’ Crudine Ridge and Sapphire wind farms in NSW will generate enough electricity to cover the electricity used across Nestlé’s sites each year – the equivalent of powering about 19,000 households a year. 

The switch to 100% renewable electricity in Australia will mean Nestlé will avoid about 73,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year. 

Late in 2020, as a signatory of the UN 'Business Ambition for 1.5°C' pledge, Nestlé was one of the first companies to share its detailed, time-bound plan to reach net zero emissions, and to do so ahead of schedule. 

Few companies have reached this stage, but many are on the path. 

“We are certainly one of the early companies doing this, but increasingly, there’s a growing number of companies heading in the same direction,” Ms Stuart said. 

“A lot of companies have made a commitment about reaching net zero by a certain date.” 

Ms Stuart urged other businesses to do what they could. 

“The first step on the road to net zero is making the decision that you are going to do it,” she said. 

“Having made that decision, we then developed a detailed roadmap for approval by the Science Based Targets Initiatives. We were among the earlier movers on this.”   

Renewable electricity is a critical step, Ms Stuart said. 

“In Australia, we’re seeing corporates leading the way on moves towards renewable electricity and the more companies make these moves, the greater Australia’s supply of renewable electricity will be and the better that will be for the climate," Ms Stuart said.

“It's really important that people do what they can within their purview. Increasingly, you will see businesses and consumers wanting to know what they’re buying comes from companies that are taking a sustainability-focused approach. 

“We’ve only got one planet.”  

Reducing emissions is not just about electricity. 

“Emissions come from all sorts of places,” Ms Stuart said. 

“Once you start down the path of making the decision to go to zero net emissions, you have to look in every corner of your business to find where those emissions are and to address them. 

“This takes into account our entire supply chain: vehicles, packaging, what happens in manufacturing. It goes right back to farms. 

“About 16% of Australia’s emissions come from agriculture. As a food company, about two-thirds of our emissions are in agriculture. We are taking steps to reduce that and looking at how we can support regenerative agriculture. 

“While renewable electricity has been a big project for us to complete, some other areas like agriculture will take longer, so it’s important to do the things we can do, when we can do them.” 

There is still much to do be done, Ms Stuart said. 

“It’s exciting to reach a milestone but it’s a long way to net zero,” she added. 

“There’s a sense of accomplishment in ticking something off but but a real sense of purpose in knowing where you’re heading with the things that come next.”  

James Scotland, General Manager of Ai Group's Minerals, Energy & Supply Chain Resilience (MESCR), applauded Nestle for its achievements.

“It's impressive to see the commitment to and the progress of Nestle in its move to renewables," Mr Scotland said.

"Nestle is providing a path for others to follow, not just in setting goals and strategic intent but in implementing leading edge operations.

"Every company will eventually implement similar practices and we believe the early movers such as Nestle will gain market advantage as well as cost and other operation advantages."

 

Nestle Australia has been a member of Ai Group for 50 years. 

There’s no doubt that the last two years have been incredibly challenging as we have tried to negotiate our way through an ever-changing array of regulations, restrictions and market changes that have affected our ability to keep supply chains functioning, and our factories and distribution centres operational, so our products can reach our customers. Throughout this, Ai Group has been a valued partner, keeping us informed, helping us negotiate the twists and turns in the road, and always willing and able to step up to support us. Their speed of response and willingness to engage with our challenges to help us get better information or better outcomes faster has been outstanding." —  Margaret Stuart, Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Nestlé Oceania 

 

Wendy Larter

Wendy Larter is the Senior Content Writer at Ai Group. She is a journalist with more than 20 years’ experience as a reporter, features writer, contributor and sub-editor for newspapers and magazines including The Courier-Mail in Brisbane and Metro, News of the World, The Times and Elle in the UK.