The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative at Nestlé (SAIN) encourages best agricultural and sourcing practices to ensure a long-term supply of safe, quality assured and regulatory compliant agricultural materials.
SAIN – currently active in around 45 countries – focuses on a broad range of commodities, including milk, coffee and cocoa, and highlights the company’s continued relationships with farmers, traders and primary processors.
Over the past decade, Nestlé has addressed some of the most important challenges in sustainable sourcing, including:
Also under the SAIN scheme, the company has achieved 10 years of success in implementing sustainable agriculture practices with direct supplying farmers. This was due to forming partnerships with external stakeholders, such as research institutions and professional organisations, to provide innovative solutions into its supply operations.
Last year, within Nestlé’s direct sourcing operations called ‘farmer connect’, the company linked up directly with more than half a million farmers and offered nearly 150,000 farmer trainings. In addition, more than 32,000 farmers had access to financial assistance with a total funding of CHF 45m.
In 2007, Nestlé Colombia started implementing a ‘silvopastoral dairy farming’ project to increase farmers’ fresh milk yield by combining different species of trees, hedges and shrubs on the same pasture land, resulting in improved biodiversity. As a result, a larger volume of forage is now available in the same area where cows are grazing.
After implementing the project in 10 pilot farms, milk production and profits increased on average by 38%. Based on this success, Nestlé will gradually expand the project and plans to work with around 1,300 farmers.
In Mexico in 2009, Nestlé helped farmers improve their farm management by using the sustainability assessment tool ‘Rise’. As a result of the assessment, Nestlé provided technical advice and financial assistance to the dairy farmers to build biogas digesters. These biogas digesters capture methane from cow manure, which is recycled for energy purposes, helping to reduce electricity usage.
In the Mexican milk district of Querétaro, three biogas digesters produce around 2,400m3 of methane daily, cutting electricity usage by 90% and further decreasing Nestlé’s environmental impact.
By 2011, the company estimates that about 35% of the milk supplied for Nestlé in Mexico will come from dairy farms with biogas plants.
Another SAIN initiative in China helped reduce water consumption by 80% in the processing of coffee in 2010. New post-harvest equipment was introduced to the Nestlé farm in the Yunnan Province that now serves to demonstrate water saving techniques by recycling water and reusing pulps from coffee beans as fertiliser.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020
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