The Environmental Sustainability Award: Nestle UK Ltd for resource efficiency and emissions reduction

Award Type: 

  • 51.25% greenhouse gas emission reduction since 2010
  • 24% improvement in energy efficiency
  • Zero waste business since 2015

Resource efficiency and emissions reduction, both in-house and along the supply chain.


Nestlé is one of the world’s biggest food and drink companies, with a significant footprint, which brings both challenges and opportunities. Their environmental aims are; to grow while reducing its environmental impact, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, use resources efficiently and encourage biodiversity in the areas where it has offices, facilities and factories.

This approach has earned them the Responsible Business Award for Environmental Sustainability.

In the UK and Ireland Nestlé employs 8,000 people at 20 different sites. Every year, they export £350 million worth of product to more than 70 countries, with its UK operations producing confectionery, coffee, pet food, bottled water and cereals.

In UK and Ireland since 2010, it has reduced the amount of water withdrawn per tonne of product made by 40.2% – and by more than 60% over the last ten years. It has also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 51.25% in the same timeframe, while boosting energy efficiency by 24%.

From 2018, it has achieved zero river water abstraction, and since 2015, it has been a zero waste for disposal business.

To optimise each investment, the company assesses its sites from an energy and water efficiency perspective, using an Energy Target Setting process. Of the 153 projects identified, 96 have been implemented with an investment of £3.6 million, delivering savings of £2.9 million and the associated 205,232GJ of energy and 1,483,070m3 of water savings.

The company also applies alternative financing models to larger projects. For example, it has a long-term power purchase agreement in place that enabled the creation of a new 125GWh wind farm in south west Scotland.

When it comes to biodiversity, the company has integrated a ‘Working with Nature’ strategy to identify the key impacts and dependencies on nature across Nestlé in the UK and Ireland, implementing collaborative improvement plans for priority areas.

“Business growth and resource efficiency go hand in hand,” it says. “Being more efficient reduces our dependency on limited natural resources, as well as reducing our environmental footprint by minimising the amount of waste we burn or send to landfill.”

Globally, the food industry is one of the sectors most affected by climate change, with extreme weather and unpredictable climate posing a major threat to farmers and Nestlé’s ability to source the ingredients it needs for its products. The implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation assessments across all of its UK sites is only part of the company’s response. 

Next the business will focus on reducing the emissions of its suppliers, a process it has already started. “Our supply chain includes many businesses in areas of the world that are most exposed to climate change,” it says.