UK & Ireland: A message from our CEO – Fiona Kendrick
Welcome to our Nestlé in Society: Creating Shared Value 2015 report. A lot has changed since our last report – both across our business, and the broader external environment within which we operate.
Externally, the pressures of our increasingly globalised world continue to create new challenges for us as global citizens; from civil unrest leading to mass migration, to natural climatic disasters disrupting access to basic provisions such as food and water; to the burden of obesity and other non-communicable diseases on society and on national health services.
Encouraging steps are being taken to address these megatrends. 2015 proved to be a particularly significant year in terms of global action, with the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals in September, followed by the successful Paris COP21 negotiations in December. Such historic moments serve both to shine a light on the importance of the issues at hand and present an explicit call to action for governments, business and society alike to address them.
Here in the UK & Ireland, we have seen the development and roll-out of the Living Wage, the Modern Slavery Act legislation come into effect, and increasing focus on the uptake and harnessing of renewable energy technologies both by business and consumers in the broader fight against climate change.
Within Nestlé in the UK & Ireland, we have made a number of significant strides. As part of our global commitment to the RE100 initiative, we have achieved 100% grid supplied, renewable electricity use across all our operating sites and factories in the UK & Ireland. We will continue to make investments in the area of renewable energy, as part of our continued commitment to reducing carbon emissions across our business by 40% by 2020.
Within our confectionary business, and as part of our global commitments under the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, we achieved a milestone moment, with all of the chocolate made and sold within the UK & Ireland now being made from 100% certified sustainable cocoa. We will continue to work with our partners to build the capacity of local farming businesses, in order to support the sustainable development of rural communities and continue to bring our customers the products they know and enjoy.
When it comes to public health, I genuinely believe that the food manufacturing industry is well placed to address the challenge – through our reformulation efforts, transparent labelling, workplace health, consumer education campaigns and ever more responsible marketing practices. We also recognise that UK public health policy is evolving quickly. From a Nestlé perspective, we believe the policy environment should establish a level playing field, support investment in innovation, and encourage responsible business.
We recognise that we alone cannot bring about the transformational change needed to address some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues. Collaboration is key, and so we continue to work closely with NGOs, research institutions, industry partners and other stakeholders. Ongoing partnerships such as our work with Sheffield Hallam University on the development of energy-efficient heating technologies for our factories, to our support of the initiative Phunky Foods, which promotes the benefits of healthy lifestyles and balanced diets in primary schools, play a vital role in enabling us to create shared value for both business and society.
As a global company with a local footprint, we believe that being a responsible corporate citizen means truly embedding the values of sustainability across our business and throughout our value chain. By putting the issues that matter most to society at the heart of how we operate, and by aligning these with our business values and strategic decision-making processes, we believe we can continue to have a positive impact, not just on our own business but on society as a whole.
Looking ahead, our direction is clear. We will continue to work to uphold our responsibilities to all our stakeholders. We will continue to seek out new opportunities to collaborate with our partners in the development of innovative products, ideas and solutions. And we will continue to engage with the people around us, our stakeholders, and communicate our progress as part of our continued journey as Nestlé in Society.