Plastic pollution is such a serious global problem that 175 members of the United Nations (UN) agreed last March to forge a legally binding treaty toward ending it. In particular, plastics are one of the biggest threats to the health of the oceans that sustain humanity, endangering the well-being of man himself. In the Philippines, 2.7 million tons of plastic waste are generated each year and an estimated 20 percent of this ends up in the ocean, making the country among the largest contributors to marine plastic pollution in the world.
Plastic waste, as one of the most pressing environmental challenges on the planet, is a top priority for Nestlé. The world’s largest food and beverage company is pursuing a holistic and inclusive approach to plastic pollution, accelerating initiatives in three focus areas: (1) developing the packaging for the future, through packaging and delivery innovation and plastic reduction; (2) helping to shape a waste-free future through increased collection and recycling; and (3) driving new behaviors and understanding through solid waste management (SWM) education.
Working in these focus areas, Nestlé Philippines is the first multinational fast-moving consumer goods company in the country to achieve plastic neutrality, recovering plastic waste equivalent to what it puts out in the market. From August 2020 to May 2022, it collected close to 48 million kilos of plastic waste. Nestlé PH has transitioned to paper straws for its locally manufactured ready-to-drink products, the country’s first F and B manufacturer to do so. Among the company’s various initiatives to reach out to consumers on plastic pollution, it developed the country’s first SWM education modules to be rolled out in 20,000 public schools nationwide. The modules, part of the Nestlé Wellness Campus program, are reaching millions of Grades 1 to 10 students.
In celebration of World Oceans Day, Nestlé PH employee volunteers conducted a Clean-Up Dive and Beach Clean-Up in Mabini, Batangas under “Nestlé Cares,” a global volunteer program in which employees initiate activities that benefit local communities and the planet. The underwater and seaside clean-ups, also joined scuba divers from the company, were held in cooperation with the marine conservation social enterprise, Pure Oceans. Featured was a boat called Basura Bangka, a joint project of Nestlé PH and Pure Oceans to transport plastic waste from coastal and island communities in Batangas.
Miggo Bautista, Sustainability Manager of Nestlé PH said: “The theme of World Oceans Day this year is ‘Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean.’ Together, we can do more. Through this Clean-Up Dive and Beach Clean-Up today, we at Nestlé Philippines, as the Kasambuhay ng Kalikasan – trusted companion for the environment – demonstrate our solidarity with all other sectors as we tackle plastic waste. The work begins among ourselves, members of the Nestlé family, with a passion for caring for the environment.”
During the activity, a learning session was also conducted by Pure Oceans for the volunteers on closing the loop and its importance in increasing the recovery rate of plastics and preventing them from leaking into the environment.
For her part, and as one of the employee volunteers, Natalie Grace Toralballa, Material Handling Lead of Nestlé PH Tanauan Factory stated: “Taking part in today’s clean up activity together with my coworkers is a very fulfilling experience. Nestlé Philippines encourages us to live out our commitments to the environment in our own ways as Kasambuhay ng Kalikasan. No matter how big or small it may be, we can always do something to care for and preserve our planet for future generations.”
“Our vision at Nestlé is that none of our packaging, including plastics, ends up in landfill, oceans, lakes and rivers. We are working hard to deliver on it and help achieve a waste-free future. Among our commitments, 100 percent of our packaging will be recyclable or reusable by 2025. And we will reduce our consumption of virgin plastics by 1/3 also by 2025,” said Christine Ponce-Garcia, Assistant Vice President and Sustainability Lead of Nestlé PH.