25 March 2020
Our events have now gone virtual and Sustainable Procurement: An Introduction, took place live online today. Despite not being able to visit Chatsworth House as planned, there was plenty of energy and interaction during our virtual meet up. Over 40 practitioners from organisations including RNLI, Guide Dogs, National Trust, Cancer Research UK and British Heart Foundation joined the call. They heard from Nestle’s Responsible Sourcing Manager, Robin Sundaram and Head of Value Chain Sustainability, Andrew Griffiths. Chatsworth House’s Sustainability Officer, Tom Hendry, then presented on Chatsworth estate's procurement policy.
Robin and Andrew talked us through Nestle’s sustainable procurement strategies in the UK. Andrew cited a 2019 Forbes article, which neatly communicates the vital role of procurement in the context of environmental responsibility for large companies like theirs:
‘The Chief Procurement Officer could soon be the Chief Sustainability Officer, or even the Chief Purpose Officer. That’s because people are finally realising we must act immediately to create a healthier, cleaner world before it’s too late, and the way to do it is through the supply chain.’ Full article here.
Nestle work with 81 dairy farms in the UK and are part of the Farmer Connect programme, helping farmers to implement sustainable practices on the ground. Farmers are paid a premium for implementing practices such as tree planting, conservation of ancient woodland, fencing off water courses and improving soil health.
On a global scale, Nestle have implemented a Traceability Programme in which twelve high-risk commodities have been identified and traced back to farm or plantation- no easy task! Their responsible sourcing audit programme was written using UN principles, and the company works with suppliers to close gaps in the standards it lays out.
By 2025, Nestle want all of their packaging to be reusable/ recyclable as part of a closed loop system. There is an infrastructure challenge that needs to be worked around, as different councils collect different things. Processing could also be made easier, for example by not using black plastics.
As a whole, the company aims to be net zero by 2050.
In terms of improving energy efficiency, water efficiency and waste management, Nestle initially focused on their own operations. They started this journey in 2007 and set core reduction targets for sites. Rather than classing energy reduction as separate ask it was embedded into projects, and employees took ownership of opportunities. Targets were set by mapping out energy usage across a site, drawing together data and identifying opportunities for savings. The company now works with engineers and operations to ensure environmental aspects are integrated into capital projects from the beginning.
Since 2007, energy efficiency has been improved by over 42% and this is matched with savings of around £30million. They have clearly evidenced the economic sense to taking this approach.
Tom Hendry, Sustainability Manager at Chatsworth presented next. He talked us through the steps of conducting a supply chain inventory and putting a policy into place, as well as the challenges and successes of working with suppliers to help them understand and implement this.
Chatsworth sources produce for their shops, restaurants, and hotels from the local estates and communities wherever possible and is aiming for 50% of all goods procured to come from within a 30 mile radius. Last year they had already achieved a 49% target so they are more than on track to deliver this.
Fit for the Future's mission to help organisations decarbonise, adapt and develop business resilience in the urgent context of climate change continues, and we have taken our services online for the time being. Take a look at this article to find out how we are doing this, or visit our event page to find out what’s coming up.