News From Europe - Nestlé to invest €1.68 billion in sustainable packaging

28 January 2020

Nestlé today announced that it will invest up to €1.68 billion to lead the shift from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics and to accelerate the development of innovative sustainable packaging solutions.

Building on its 2018 commitment to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, Nestlé is aiming to reduce its use of virgin plastics by one third in the same period whilst working with others to advance the circular economy and endeavour to clean up plastic waste from oceans, lakes, and rivers.

In the company’s view, food quality and safety are paramount, and packaging plays a major role in assuring this. Nestlé argues that most plastics are difficult to recycle for food packaging, leading to a limited supply of food-grade recycled plastics. To create a market, Nestlé is therefore committed to sourcing up to 2 million metric tons of food-grade recycled plastics and allocating more than €1.39 billion to pay a premium for these materials between now and 2025. Nestlé will reportedly seek operational efficiencies to keep this initiative earnings neutral.

Packaging innovation, including new materials, refill systems, and recycling solutions, is another key challenge on the path towards a waste-free future. In addition to its in-house research through the Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences, the company will launch a €232 million sustainable packaging venture fund to invest in start-up companies that focus on these areas.

These two initiatives come in addition to Nestlé’s ongoing efforts in research, sourcing, and manufacturing to make its packaging recyclable or reusable and contribute to its goal to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. As part of the company’s packaging commitment and in an effort to increase transparency, Nestlé will continue to outline further initiatives and provide regular progress updates.

“No plastic should end up in landfill or as litter,” said Mark Schneider, CEO of Nestlé. “Making recycled plastics safe for food is an enormous challenge for our industry. That is why in addition to minimising plastics use and collecting waste, we want to close the loop and make more plastics infinitely recyclable. We are taking bold steps to create a wider market for food-grade recycled plastics and boost innovation in the packaging industry. We welcome others to join us on this journey.”

"We are pleased to see Nestlé commit a €1.68 billion investment toward creating a circular economy for plastics, alongside a reduction of its use of virgin plastic in packaging by one third by 2025. By eliminating the plastics we don’t need, innovating in areas like reuse models and new materials, and circulating the plastics we do need – also in more challenging food-grade applications – we can create an economy where plastic never becomes waste. Achieving the commitments announced today will significantly contribute towards realising this vision,” said Andrew Morlet, CEO, Ellen MacArthur Foundation.