As those of you who signed our petition calling on Nestlé to stop single-use plastic might have seen, this week Nestlé responded. We thought it would be courteous to comply with their request to post their response, with a few clarifications.
“Tackling plastic pollution, especially in our oceans, is an urgent priority for us. We take this responsibility seriously. We support all efforts to raise awareness and find solutions to the plastic waste problem.”
Great to hear that you support our efforts to find real solutions to the plastic pollution problem! And as we and our allies in the Break Free From Plastic global movement know, the only real solution is reducing the overall production of throwaway plastic packaging.
“In April last year, we pledged to make 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.”
Just because plastic is “recyclable” does NOT mean it will actually be recycled. In fact, only 9% of the plastic ever produced has been recycled. So exactly what percentage are you planning to make REUSABLE?
“We are committed to making a significant difference everywhere we operate.”
As Jane Goodall once said, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Unfortunately, you’ve already made a difference, and not in a good way, as communities and waterways around the world are now choked with plastic.
“That is why we have been working with governments, NGOs, suppliers, waste managers, retailers as well as other companies to take meaningful actions. As we deploy new solutions, we will never compromise the health of our consumers. The safety and quality of our foods and beverages are non-negotiable.”
Thanks for saying you will never compromise the health of your consumers—but it’s not healthy for people to live among piles of plastic waste, or for marine creatures to live in seas full of plastic. Plastic can even be found in our own bodies as microplastics, it’s been found in our water and in our food, and scientists are only just beginning to research and understand the implications of this.
“We are determined to reduce our use of single-use plastics.”
Okay, well then do it. Because everything you are doing right now allows you to keep growing your single-use #PlasticMonster. You could start by being transparent about exactly how much plastic you are producing overall and setting up annual reduction goals.
“We are introducing reusable packaging, new delivery systems, and innovative business models. We are currently testing reusable ice cream containers for our Häagen-Dazs brand in the U.S. Dispensers for NESCAFÉ and MILO are already available in many countries around the world. In early 2020, we will launch new water dispensers using state-of-the-art technology, allowing consumers to fill their own reusable bottles.”
We are happy to hear you are investing in reusable and refillable systems. Now you need to do so on a scale that’s big enough to actually make a dent in the huge amount of plastic you are producing.
“These innovative models are promising. They are part of a broader set of actions, which include promoting recycling and developing novel biodegradable and compostable packaging solutions.”
We’ll let our International Executive Director, Jennifer Morgan, answer this one.
“Everyone at Nestlé is committed to making further progress in tackling this global problem. We look forward to working in a constructive manner with all those who want to shape a waste-free future.”
Great! We can’t wait to see your commitment to be transparent about how much plastic packaging you are producing, and a concrete plan for how you are going to reduce that amount.
“You can find out more about what we are doing to tackle the plastic waste problem by visiting: https://www.nestle.com/csv/global-initiatives/zero-environmental-impact/packaging-plastic-pollution”
We’re disappointed that there’s really nothing new or innovative here. Just more about recycling and materials substitution. Your current investment in reduction initiatives are really small scale, and there’s nothing in any of your plans so far to keep you from continuing to increase your overall production of products wrapped in single-use packaging. Let’s be honest, shall we?
“With best regards, Nestlé”
(on behalf of over 3 million people who are standing with us to stop single-use plastic)
I commend your work and your well-stated analysis of Nestle's response. I wish the mass media would do this with political speeches on both sides of the fence to force transparency with the public. Being a big-picture guy, I do have several problems with putting the onus on industry to innovate packaging: 1. We are giving the masses (and government) a pass on their failures to recycle and integrate recycling into everyday waste management. Recycling works exceedingly well, and if industry produces 100% recyclable materials, our society must have widespread recycling worked into the infrastructure. It can no longer be a voluntary action. Yes, I would love to see Nestle innovate some new packaging, but aside from paper (which is always a bad idea) and metals (which never get recycled properly), what would you suggest? I would suggest aluminum packaging for almost everything if it were recycled properly because it recycles exceedingly well and with low energy use. However, this goes back to recycling not being fully accepted by the masses or fully promoted by government. 2. With a background in environmental chemistry, it is troubling to me that the focus is so much on reducing waste and emissions and almost none on curbing population growth. We cannot grow without bound indefinitely, and we are way past sustainable levels with water and consumption. Eventually, the answer is not in reducing consumption and conserving but in population control. Everyone eats, drinks, urinates, defecates and requires energy and space. I don't relish the idea of a society of 20 billion people where everyone is minimalist. Rather, I envision an eventual population of about a billion environment-conscious people who live very well AND sustainably. Unfortunately, both sides of the political fence seem to want unchecked growth for various reasons, and there are no scientific breakthroughs in sight to sustain this. Anyway, that said, work is much appreciated and every bit helps. I wish you much success.
Thanks so much for your comment, Alan. Global recycling rates have actually increased in recent years, but with plastic production set to quadruple by 2050, recycling alone will never be enough to solve this crisis. We need to move away from the throwaway culture altogether, because there is no "away"." That's why it is crucial and urgent that corporations shift from disposable, throwaway items to more sustainable systems of refill and reuse. Population growth is one thing, but limiting consumption all around can help give our beautiful planet a break! Read more here - https://www.makesmthng.org/
nestlé stop single use
This is outrageous that this huge corporation Nestle should be allowed to waffle on about recycling when they produce so much of the worlds pollution . They are killing off species in our oceans and on land . How can they live with themselves knowing they are contributing to the worlds demise ? They need to be bought to justice this is criminal . Laws should be passed immediately to stop the production of single use plastic . Now .
Words are irrelevant. We need to see action. Yes that's SEE action!
Fantastic but you are not letting people know what alternatives are already available. This article and demonstration promotes the name Nestle and that is exactly how major brands promote their goods. Maybe start advertising the alternatives so the names of valid alternatives become well known.
Hi Allan. To truly tackle the plastics epidemic, companies need to fundamentally rethink how they bring products to people. That could include refill and reuse systems, plastic-free packaging, a combination of approaches, or totally new delivery and provisioning systems -- but the time has come to stop using throwaway plastic for good. There are plastic alternatives that are becoming more prevalent around the world, but to bring about change at the scale needed, corporations are going to have to innovate as only they can afford to do.
The only responsible thing for Nestle and other corporations and individuals who use plastics is to curtail or stop using them altogether. The plastic you use today will be here tomorrow and many tomorrows thereafter. We will no longer use any Nestle product until we are assured that the company has changed its packaging practices to something less damaging to the world ecosystems.