Nestle is joining a new research partnership between industry and academia that aims to improve the environmental performance of consumer products and services. The company is the only global food and beverage manufacturer to join the ‘International Chair in Life Cycle Assessment’ unit at the Interuniversity Research Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG) in Montreal, Canada.
Life cycle assessment is the most widely used scientific methodology for assessing products’ overall environmental impact. CIRAIG is one of the largest research centres of its kind in the world. It generates new life cycle assessment knowledge, methods and tools, and shares these with its industry partners. Nestle is supporting its work with an investment of C$500,000 (Eur382,000).
Life cycle assessments measure a product’s environmental impacts across the entire value chain: from ingredient sourcing to processing and manufacturing, its use by consumers and how its packaging is disposed of or reused. Nestle’s approach to using life cycle assessments in all its product categories has enabled it to systematically improve the environmental performance of many of its popular products and systems.
“This partnership will help us expand our knowledge of life cycle assessments,” said Nestle scientist Urs Schenker. “We use them when developing products to measure areas of environmental impacts, for example water use in agriculture, CO2 emissions in manufacture, and the amount of energy used in distribution.”
He adds: “The partnership will also help us to provide consumers with improved information about our products’ environmental performance, helping them make more informed decisions about what they buy. Online graphics such as the ones created by our Nescafe brand can help people understand the life cycle concept in an interesting and accessible way.”