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Home » World Food Day » Why we must advance regenerative food systems at scale

Stefano Agostini

CEO, Nestlé UK & Ireland

The climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges of our time. There is no longer a choice about whether to act, only how we do it. 

More extreme weather conditions and increases in temperatures will directly impact food production and influence the supply-demand chain. While the food system is a significant contributor to climate change, it also has a unique opportunity to be a significant part of the solution.  

Fixing the global food system  

Stefano Agostini, CEO Nestlé UK & Ireland, explains how the company is taking positive action to tackle the climate crisis. “Our current global food system is broken. It’s responsible for a quarter of all human-induced emissions fuelling climate change and driving nature loss. While it’s damaging the health of our planet it’s also not supporting the health of the global population. More than two billion of us are overweight or obese, nearly 800 million of us go to bed hungry every night and food-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease are on the rise.” 

Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage business. Last year, it published its global climate roadmap to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 205 – even as the company continues to grow.

How we grow, process, transport, consume and waste food is hurting both people and the planet. 

“As the world’s largest food manufacturer, we have a role to play in reducing our impact on the environment while helping to feed a growing global population with food to enhance their quality of life,” he says.  

Agostini continues “We are the first generation to experience the impacts of climate change and the last generation who can do anything about it. 

“How we grow, process, transport, consume and waste food is hurting both people and the planet. But we know it doesn’t have to be this way. We have to shift our approach from doing no harm, to having a positive impact on the food system at scale. We must protect, renew and restore.  

“This is why we are committed to advancing regenerative food systems at scale – collaborating with our suppliers and farmers to implement more regenerative practices that protect and restore nature, working with the communities we source from and provide to.” 

Creating a more sustainable supply chain  

One initiative Nestlé has implemented as part of its regenerative agriculture work is the Milk Plan.  

As part of its long-term partnership with First Milk, the company works closely with 77 dairy farmers in Cumbria and Scotland who supply fresh milk for its confectionery and beverage products. 

All parties are dedicated to developing a more sustainable and efficient supply chain that has a reduced environmental impact. This means adopting nature-friendly farming practices that protect and restore the natural resources such as soil, water and biodiversity.  

Farmer Alistair Cumming comments: “After attending the First Milk and Nestlé workshop, I now feel I have some good options for regenerative farming.” 

John Barrowman, also a farmer, adds: “First Milk and Nestlé have helped me feel more equipped to explore regenerative farming practices, the recent workshop gave me a good foundation learning about soil health and practical solutions I can use on farm.”  

In the UK, Nestlé is aiming to reduce the carbon footprint of its fresh milk supply by 50% by 2025. To achieve this, it needs to work with the farmers to improve soil, grazing and feeding practices

Nestlé has been partnering with social initiative WildHearts, running its Micro Tyco programme for its apprentices and graduates and taking part in the WildHearts Sustainable Leaders Award for more than two years. This is an interactive series of 45-minute lessons developed in partnership with industry experts, introducing secondary school students to the topic of sustainability and how they as young people can play their part in making the world a more sustainable place.  

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