Nestlé recently took the surprising decision to no longer be carbon neutral. The company recognizes that carbon neutrality alone is not enough to solve the fundamental problem of carbon emissions. It will have to work with its suppliers to find sustainable solutions that benefit both the regeneration of natural ecosystems and business.

Nestlé explained its decision by emphasizing a more global approach to sustainability. Rather than offsetting its carbon emissions by planting trees or supporting renewable energy projects, as many other groups do, the company wants to focus on actually reducing these emissions. It aims to fundamentally transform its operations and supply chains to reduce its carbon footprint at source.

By focusing on the effective reduction of emissions at source, the company is committed to having a real impact and making a significant contribution to the fight against climate change. To achieve this, it will need to find innovative solutions to reduce emissions while maintaining the quality and availability of its products. This will require close collaboration with suppliers, experts and governmental organizations to ensure that efforts are sustained and benefit from diversified expertise. The company will need to engage in an approach that I have conceptualized as “regenerative purchasing”, a method that renews natural ecosystems as a business, attempting to restore them by giving back what has been borrowed from them over decades.

Nestlé’s decision to no longer be carbon neutral has also raised questions about the potential impact on its brand image. The company has long been criticized for its environmental practices, and this decision could be interpreted as a step backwards. However, the company is committed to providing full transparency on its efforts to reduce carbon emissions, and to reporting publicly on its progress.

This change of direction represents a considerable challenge, but also an opportunity to set an example and inspire other companies to follow the same path. Hopefully, Nestlé’s actions will have a ripple effect. By adopting a regenerative, i.e. more holistic, approach to sustainability, the company can positively influence its peers and encourage more environmentally-friendly practices on a large scale.

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