SWITZERLAND – Swiss multinational food and drink processing conglomerate, Nestlé, plans to invest over CHF 100 million (US$107 million) by 2030 in low-carbon logistics for its three international water brands – S. Pellegrino, Acqua Panna, and Perrier.

The company said the investment will focus on optimizing logistics routes and accelerating train transport, increasing the use of alternative fuels and transportation options, as well as testing alternative transport options.

Logistics and packaging (under scope 3 emissions) account for a majority of Nestlé’s international water brands’ emissions, according to a lifecycle assessment peer-reviewed by environmental sustainability consultancy, Quantis.

Nestlé Waters had previously pledged to achieve carbon neutrality for its brands by the end of 2022 – but has rescinded that goal and now says reducing emissions ‘is the most impactful way’ for brands to act.

Together with its logistics partners and customers, Nestlé Waters is reducing the number of truck journeys by optimizing payloads and routes, by shifting towards alternative modes of transport.

The company will offer customers fewer, but bigger, shipments and use more rail transportation across Europe, where Nestlé Waters has its biggest environmental footprint.

The Swiss giant believes it can reduce the total greenhouse gas emissions of its international water brands and contribute towards its 2050 net zero commitment.

By 2021, Nestlé Waters had already moved 30% of its European logistics from road to rail. In France, Nestlé Waters launched new rail routes for Perrier, cutting an estimated 12,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year by the end of 2022.

The Vevey- based business is also working with partners to roll out a hydrogen-powered train route in France by 2025: set to reduce CO2e by an estimated 10 000 tonnes per year – a reduction of 90% of its current emissions, the equivalent of more than 30 000 round trips from Paris to Nice by car each year.

The company has achieved emissions reduction ranging between 800 and 1,700 tonnes of CO2 by transporting S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna brands by rail.

The investment plan comes at a time when Nestlé Waters is also scaling up the use of biofuels, including Bio-LNG (liquefied natural gas made from processed organic waste), in trucks, and other types of biofuels in ocean freight logistics to North America.

Using biofuels requires a shift in bio-LNG -powered vehicles and the development of supply and refueling infrastructure.

Nestlé Waters’ partners in Italy and Germany have started incorporating this technology into their logistic operations, the company noted.

In addition, the company is piloting the use of full-battery electric vehicles in Europe to assess their durability and usability.

These pilots include the use of three new fully electric heavy goods trucks (HGVs) – some of the first of their kind – in Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.

Svante Palebo, head of the supply chain for Nestlé’s water category in Europe, said: “Through investments in innovations that bring together businesses across the value chain, we will help the whole sector drive the systemic change needed to significantly reduce emissions in the future.

For all the latest food industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.