Q&A with Michael Desso, Nestlé USA Director of Safety, Health and Environment

Earlier this month, Nestlé USA announced that all 23 of its factories are now landfill-free and contributing zero waste for disposal, reflecting the company's commitment to environmentally sustainable business practices. Food Manufacturing recently had the opportunity to conduct a Q&A on the topic with Michael Desso, Director of Safety, Health and Environment at Nestlé USA.

Nestlé USA recently announced that all 23 of its factories are now landfill-free and contributing zero waste for disposal, reflecting the company's commitment to environmentally sustainable business practices.

Food Manufacturing recently had the opportunity to conduct a Q&A on the topic, via email, with Michael Desso, Director of Safety, Health and Environment at Nestlé USA.

Q: Why was achieving zero waste to landfill an important initiative for Nestlé USA to pursue?

A: Environmental sustainability is part of Nestlé’s commitment to Creating Shared Value. Nestlé’s goal is that our products will not only be tastier and healthier, but also better for the environment along the value chain. We will continue to sustain this practice in our factories and work to achieve similar success in other areas of our company’s operations.

Q: What did it take for a company of Nestlé USA's size to accomplish zero waste to landfill at all 23 of its facilities?

A: Our factories focus on employee education and awareness. They look for ways to reduce waste within our processes and create partnerships with recyclers, composters and other organizations that could use our by-products.

Q: What were the biggest challenges during the process?

A: This achievement was significant given that it included our manufacturing operations across a variety of categories including confections, frozen and refrigerated meals, baking ingredients, ice cream and beverages.

Q: What were the biggest insights gained from the process?

A: A cross functional commitment is necessary to be successful. It’s important to ensure that all employees understand that regardless of the role they play in the factory, they had a contribution and that their actions were important to meeting this goal.

Q: How is Nestlé expanding this effort beyond the United States?

A:, Globally, Nestlé has committed to improving resource efficiency in our operations. Our goal is to do more with fewer resources and less waste to help preserve natural resources. For all of 2014, 15% of all Nestlé factories worldwide (72 in total) have achieved zero waste for disposal. This achievement exceeds Nestlé’s stated goal of having 10% of our global factories at this stage by 2015.

Q: What other sustainability initiatives is Nestlé USA involved with now or looking to be involved with in the future?

A: Nestlé has a global policy on Environmental Sustainability, which you can find at the following link: http://www.nestle.com/asset-library/documents/library/documents/environmental_sustainability/nestl%C3%A9%20policy%20on%20environmental%20sustainability.pdf

We apply a product life cycle approach involving our partners from farm to consumer and beyond. Specific to our food and beverage business we focus on water preservation, natural resources efficiency, biodiversity conservation, air emissions reduction, climate change adaptation, and zero waste. For more information please visit http://www.nestle.com/csv/environmental-sustainability.

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