Food and beverage giant Nestlé (NASDAQ: NESN) cut its water intensity by nearly 2 percent per ton of products -- although its overall water use grew -- and diverted 80 percent of its waste from landfills to animal feeding, composting and recycling, according to the company’s 2011 sustainability report released Tuesday.
The Swiss company behind many well-known brands, such as Lean Cuisine and Nesquik, also reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 38 percent since 2008.
But for 2011, Nestlé reported an increase in its overall greenhouse gas emissions by 3.1 percent. The amount dropped, though, by nearly 7 percent when measured per ton of product.
The Creating Shared Value report, named after Nestlé’s corporate and social responsibility strategy, highlighted the company’s achievements in the United States from 2010 to 2011 in the areas of sustainability, nutrition and community development.
Nestlé’s U.S. operations are made up of five businesses: Nestlé USA, Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, Nestlé Waters North America, Nestlé Nutrition and Nestlé Professional.
Heidi Paul, vice president of corporate affairs for Nestlé Waters North America, said the company’s green accomplishments were largely due to teamwork and cooperation between the different businesses.
“These efficiencies come through many systems, small and large,” Paul said. “By working together and learning from each other, we can go further and faster on this continuum.”
The company reduced its per product water use by 1.8 percent, from 2.04 cubic meters per ton of product in 2010 to 2.01 cubic meters in 2011. Overall annual water use, however, jumped by 11 percent due to Nestlé manufacturing more products.
The increase illustrates the challenge faced by many companies today -- how to remain sustainable while expanding operations.
For Nestlé, it’s about focusing on annual improvements, however incremental they might be.
“It's harder and harder to get the big wins,” Paul said. “It's a process of looking at year-and-year reductions.”
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