Nestlé secures sustainable milk supply chain for Kit Kat and Nescafé

Nestlé has set up a partnership within its milk supply chain to drive sustainability through lower carbon emissions and on-farm biodiversity. Its Kit Kat and Nescafé brands are the first to benefit from the move.

First Milk, the British farmer-owned dairy company, is involved as a long-term supplier for the initiative. First Milk members are paid using a competitive milk price schedule which rewards them for helping to create a more sustainable supply chain.

Measures farmers are being encouraged to take within their own operations include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the proportion of milk which comes from forage and developing on-farm biodiversity work.

Some initial work has already taken place around Nestlé’s site at Girvan in Ayrshire, where milk is sourced from within a 50 mile radius. The partnership is set to be expanded with the establishment of a farmer supply group near Nestlé’s Dalston site in Cumbria.

In Girvan, the 65 farmers involved have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 5.7%. Six of them have now committed over 60 acres of land to develop biodiversity programmes – this follows the lead of Nestlé UK & Ireland to plant wildflower meadows on all its sites to attract butterflies and other species.

Sustainability targets

According to Nestlé UK & Ireland’s head of procurement Brett Whitfield, the First Milk partnership is a ‘win-win’ situation. “Working alongside First Milk and its farmers our supply chain will be more sustainable … Nestlé has the scale to positively impact on the lives of our suppliers and their communities due to the intake of milk into the Girvan and Dalston site,” he said.

The milk supplied by the farmers is made into chocolate crumb for Nestlé products, before being transported to the company’s York food manufacturing site and added to cocoa and cocoa butter to make milk chocolate.

First Milk is also progressing on its own stated sustainability goals. In 2013 it achieved zero ‘process’ waste to landfill for all of its manufacturing sites and reduced the carbon footprint of its Lake District creamery by 35% through the installation of clean-burn gas.

At its Haverfordwest creamery in Pembrokeshire, Wales, it also halved the amount of cleaning water used through the installation of membrane technology.

This enabled the recovery of naturally occuring water from within its farmers’ milk, while processing cheese whey. The company currently recovers 448 cubic metres of this water each day, reducing its reliance on mains supply.

Maxine Perella

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