Nestlé has announced it has reached a key milestone in its no-deforestation commitment, with over three quarters of its agricultural commodities verified as deforestation-free.
Nestlé has been working with its suppliers to identify deforestation risks in its supply chains for commodities and to develop tools to monitor and manage these risks.
The company announced 77% of its agricultural commodities are now verified as deforestation-free, attributing the success to tools such as its satellite mapping system, Starling.
Satellite mapping has been used to understand where deforestation occurs and data and analytics are used to verify the company’s compliance, challenge suppliers and prioritise transformative actions, Nestlé said.
The company made a commitment in 2010 to ensure none of its products globally would be associated with deforestation by 2020 and it has recently outlined progress it has made in commodities such as palm oil and cocoa.
In September 2018, Nestlé announced 100% of its global palm oil supply chains would be monitored by satellite by the end of 2018. Pilots are also underway for pulp and paper and the company plans to extend the pilot to soya later in 2019.
The company also pledged in March this year to end deforestation and restore forests in its cocoa supply chains in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, and published an action plan in support of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative.
Magdi Batato, executive vice president, head of operations at Nestlé SA, said: "Innovation and technology like Starling are accelerating our journey towards zero deforestation.
"This is transforming the way we manage deforestation risks in our palm oil supply chain – we are using this tool to hold our suppliers and ourselves accountable. We are satisfied with our progress, but there is much more to do. The last miles to go are always the hardest."
Nestlé said it will continue to engage on a collaborative basis with its suppliers and smallholders to fulfill its no-deforestation commitment and it will work to find solutions to ensure sustainable supply chains while "respecting people’s rights to improve their livelihoods".
“Combating deforestation requires true transformation of all global commodity-based supply chains – and this is a shared responsibility,” Nestlé said.
Meanwhile, research firm Gartner has predicted 20% of the top global grocers will use blockchain to verify food safety and traceability by 2025.
Gartner said as annual grocery sales rise worldwide, customer awareness on the source of food, sustainability and overall freshness has also increased.
“Blockchain appears as an ideal technology to foster transparency and visibility along the food supply chain. Encryption capabilities on the food source, quality, transit temperature and freshness can be used to ensure that the data is accurate and will give confidence to both consumers and retailers,” Gartner said.
Retailers are already experimenting with blockchain technologies. Earlier this month, Albertsons, the second largest supermarket in the US, announced it would be partnering with IBM to trace bulk romaine lettuce before expanding into other products.
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