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Food giant launches sustainability initiative in SA

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NESTLÉ has launched a sustainability initiative in South Africa, which it says will mitigate environmental challenges and strengthen its contribution to a waste-free future.

According to Saint-Francis Tohlang, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Director at Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region the RE sustainability initiative will focus on three key pillars: Rethink, Reduce and Repurpose.

He said sustainability challenges cannot be addressed through a singular approach.  “The world is plagued by sustainability challenges, whether one looks at these from the scourge of managing post-consumer waste, access to water and water scarcity in our parts of the world, impact of climate change on agricultural production and food security, ecological degradation due to industrial activity.

“We believe that circular economy principles will be what is going to drive the transformative agenda. Businesses, including ourselves, need to rethink and approach our businesses in a circular way as opposed to extractive industrial models based on ‘take-make-waste’ if we are truly going to make a lasting impact to save the environment,” said Tohlang.

The initiative encourages everyone – industry, civil society, consumers, government – to rethink, reduce and repurpose in their own ways by making sustainability more practical, accessible, motivating and rewarding.

“We know that addressing sustainability challenges cannot be resolved without collaboration and therefore it becomes important to work with like-minded partners to, amongst others, drive more circular initiatives to strive for zero environmental impact,” said Tohlang.

Turning to each of the initiative’s three pillars, he said Rethink speaks to encouraging broader society to rethink their relationship with the environment. “On our part, we intend driving this by educating the public about ways in which their behaviours can be shifted to better serve the environment.  Some of the examples include water conversation, recycling and sustaining environmentally responsible practices.”

Reduce, the second pillar, “speaks to our commitment towards reducing our environmental impact to zero. This is part of our global ambition to strive for zero impact on the environment by 2030.  Therefore, we will do this by driving the reduction across our value chain; for example, food and plastic waste as well as operational inefficiencies that contribute to waste”.

Repurpose, the third pillar of the initiative focuses on upcycling and reusing materials. “This is where we accelerate our circular economy business models and projects to show commitment and leadership in this space.”

He said that through the RE sustainability initiative, the company intended to formulate and implement practical solutions that will safeguard the environment.

“Being a leading food and beverage company in the world, we have drawn lessons from other markets that have successfully implemented such initiatives. We are therefore in a better position to replicate these in South Africa. After all, sustainability challenges are societal challenges which therefore require societal responses.”

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