EXCLUSIVE: Nestlé sustainability head urges govt to ‘step in’ and ‘help drive’ sector change

Nestlé’s head of sustainability, Emma Keller, has called on the UK government to ‘step in and help drive’ sustainable sector change.

Speaking to Grocery Gazette, Keller said the government can play a “key role” in setting up the best enabling policies, helping to drive innovation and levelling the playing field, but feels that more still needs to be done.

“The government can help to work with our supply chain and our farmers that we depend on by reframing the subsidy system for UK farmers towards a system that looks at how they benefit nature and public goods using public money” she said.

“If we threaten nature, through disruptive practices or with the impacts of climate change, we face a massive risk to us.”

READ MORE: Nestlé boosts growth projections after raising prices

The move comes as a survey, conducted by recycling group Suez and the British Chambers of Commerce, found that 64 per cent of around 1000 businesses surveyed said they had no environmental sustainability policy.

Overall only eight per cent of firms had a net-zero plan which would make them emit less greenhouse gas than they absorb.

Next month, the government will host the next United Nations climate conference Cop26.

This means the “time is ripe for a sea-change” to make businesses focus more on environmental and social value policies, said Suez chief executive John Scanlon.

“But the efforts will need government leadership,” he added.

Keller, who was a panelist at the 2021 Plant Based World Expo, continued: “At the moment, the big focus for most food businesses, and for many businesses in other sectors is climate change, particularly this moment ahead of the Cop26 climate gathering we’re recognising both the society that climate change is one of the biggest threats, both to us and society.

“So, I think one of the biggest things we’re seeing at the moment is businesses committing to net zero emissions by 2050, which is aligned with government policy and then there’s a massive focus on not just making that commitment, which is key and direction of travel.”

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