For Margarida Melo, head of fulfilment for the Europe zone at Nestlé, collaboration with the right partners is key to achieving the company’s sustainability objectives. She believes that sustainability is a licence to operate, and part of her role is to manage the transformation of Nestle's fulfilment network to ensure that the three pillars of service, cost, and sustainability are achieved. One of the key initiatives is to deploy automation at scale and identify opportunities to perform direct deliveries to clients, reducing Nestle's carbon footprint. Margarida Melo's highlights: “Almost 8% of Nestle's carbon footprint is from logistics. We have defined our roadmap to achieve net zero by 2050. Our commitment is to reduce our emissions by 20% by 2025, 50% by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050.” Sustainability is a multifaceted topic at Nestle, and the company approaches it by looking at the three areas of ESG: people and planet, people and community, and people and families. “For Nestle, LPR plays a crucial role in achieving net zero objectives, deforestation-free supply chains and I am looking forward to enhancing our collaboration.”
Some of Nestle's key sustainability objectives are for all packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025, reducing the amount of virgin plastics, and reducing emissions by implementing biofuels and switching to electric or low-emission vehicles. Margarida Melo identifies reducing Nestle's palette footprint, reducing transport emissions, and complying with new EU legislation on packaging as some of the key challenges in reaching these objectives. “On sustainability and specifically distribution, we focus on how to reduce emissions via three approaches: avoid, shift and improve.”
Avoid – operational efficiency, making sure that vehicles are full and that our distribution network is redesigned. We aim to implement direct dispatch wherever possible.
Shift – shifting to lowest emissions possible, from road to rail, for example
Improve – Embracing low emissions vehicles (electric, biofuel). Both Nestle and EPG work with very large volumes, and there is a common need to maximise the asset utilisation for both companies, with a common goal to provide the best service possible for consumers at the end of the chain. Looking ahead: “We expect innovative solutions from LPR. I am thinking about digitisation, customisation, automation and even AI: how far can we go?”. As the world is evolving, new technologies and processes are required, which will need to be future-proof and commercially accessible. “To maintain our great relationship, we need trust first and foremost. It is the foundation of our future. We need to have the right partners to achieve our goals. We need transparent communication, be able to challenge the status quo, and be able to look ahead. We need partners with this mindset and approach, ready to adjust to new demands to get the results. It is important to have ambitions, but we need to show the results. If some initiatives get blocked, we need to leverage lessons learnt and move forward from that trade-off. We need to be able to make the difference. We need to show the ambition within our collaboration and to the external world. How can we inspire others to follow us? I am thinking of policymakers, civil society, our industry.”