In August 2020 Ethical Consumer sent Nestle a questionnaire requesting information about its environmental reporting and practices. No response was received. In October 2020 the company’s website, ‘Nestle Responsible Sourcing Standard’ report (July 2018) and 'Creating Shared Value Progress Report 2019' were searched for relevant information.
The Creating Shared Value Progress Report 2019 provided performance data for water, renewable energy use, raw material use, energy consumption, and waste. It also mentioned biodiversity and linked to a webpage on 'Protecting natural capital'.
The Nestle Responsible Sourcing Standard provided further details, including a commitment to decreasing the use of plastics and increasing the recyclability of packaging material supplied.
However the company did not appear to discuss the need to reduce chemical use, such as pesticides or fertilisers, in its agricultural supply chains. Ethical Consumer expected this from a large food producing company.
Several environmental reduction targets for 2020 were presented, titled Objectives, including:
"Reduce GHG emissions (Scope 1 and 2) per tonne of product in every product category to achieve an overall reduction of 35% in our manufacturing operations versus 2010."
"By 2020: Reduce direct water withdrawals per tonne of product in every product category to achieve an overall reduction of 35% since 2010."
"By 2020: Reduce GHG emissions by 10% in our distribution operations versus 2014."
"By 2020: Continue to systematically analyze and optimize our packaging portfolio, avoiding the use of at least 140 000 tonnes from 2015 to 2020"
The report was independently assured by Bureau Veritas.
As Nestle had an independently verified report dated within the past 2 years that did not show a reasonable understanding of its key environmental impacts, but did present more than two future environmental reduction targets, the company received Ethical Consumer's middle rating for its Environmental Reporting.