The company would focus on eliminating non-recyclable plastics, encourage the use of plastics that allow better recycling rates and eliminate or change complex combinations of packaging material.
Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider said, “Plastic waste is one of the biggest sustainability issues the world is facing today. Tackling it requires a collective approach. We are committed to finding improved solutions to reduce, re-use and recycle. Our ambition is to achieve 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025.”
Nestle recognized the need for a circular economy and committed themselves to playing an active role in the development of sorting and recycling schemes in the countries where they operate. The company plans to work with value chain partners and industry associations to explore different packaging solutions that will “reduce plastic usage, facilitate recycling and develop new approaches to eliminate plastic waste,” according to a company statement.
Nestle will also label its plastic product packaging with recycling information to help consumers dispose of it in the right way.
Two thirds of consumers will spend more if a brand is sustainable
Despite Nestle’s green efforts, not all groups are pleased, with environmental group Greenpeace claiming Nestle’s announcement was nothing but “greenwashing” and claiming they were one of the parties “responsible for the serious plastic crisis in the oceans,” according to Greenpeace Switzerland spokesman Yves Zenger in a statement.
According to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report, about two-thirds of global customers will spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. The report also mentions that many millennials and young adults expect their favorite companies to make public declarations about sustainability efforts. With many consumers demanding transparency, concerns over plastic waste and wanting “green” products, food companies are stepping up to the plate.
Nestle is one of many to follow the go green initiative that many food retailers are bringing to the table. Unilever had already pledged to make all of its plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. In January, Coca-Cola announced their goal to collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of the packaging it sells globally by 2030. Popular coffee chain Starbucks is also offering customers a discount on their drink if they bring in their own tumbler or cup.