Nestlé boss adds waste to list of supply chain risk factors

Nestlé chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe has identified wasteful agriculture practices as a "major challenge" to tackle within its global supply chain as it looks to ramp up production levels.

Highlighting the fact that around one-third of food grown for human consumption is lost or wasted globally every year, Brabeck-Letmathe said these losses were now posing a risk to food production levels.

“We need to find more sustainable agricultural production methods that increase production, while wasting less, and without turning natural ecosystems into areas of new farm land,” he urged.

Touching on water scarcity, which he called “the issue of our lifetime”, Brabeck-Letmathe maintained that agriculture was responsible for 70% of world water withdrawals.

“The amount of water withdrawn by agriculture is almost 2.5 times the amount needed by plants, so massive savings can – and must – still be made,” he said.

Both waste and water are areas where Nestlé sees huge potential for transformation, but action it says must be taken at government as well as local level.

Through the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI), which the company help founded ten years ago, Nestlé has increased the work it is doing with more than 680,000 farmers who form part of its supply chain.

Brabeck-Letmathe, who was talking at a recent SAI event in France, said one of the biggest ongoing challenges the company faced was to ensure farmer compliance with sustainable principles and standards.

Maxine Perella

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