Nestlé accelerates sustainable packaging transformation
The organisation has confirmed a number of initiatives that include a US$30mn investment to increase food-grade recycled plastics in the US, a refillable system for pet food in Chile and a first-of-its-kind recyclable paper packaging for Maggi bouillon cubes in France. Currently, 87% of Nestlé’s packaging is already recyclable or reusable.
Véronique Cremades-Mathis, Global Head of Sustainable Packaging, Nestlé, commented: “We have made strides in our transformative journey towards a waste-free future, but we know that we have more work to do. As the world’s largest food and beverage company, we’re committed to putting our size and scale to work to tackle the packaging waste problem everywhere we operate.”
Despite dealing with the challenge of COVID-19, Nestlé’s commitment to sustainable packaging has remained the same. The organisation continues to play an influential role in helping solve the issue of plastic pollution through its three-pillar approach launched in January 2019.
Pillar 1: Developing new packaging
- Transitioning to paper packaging across various formats. For example, Smarties sharing block, a popular colour-coated chocolate confectionary product, is available in a recyclable paper wrapper in the UK.
- Gerber and Piltti baby food use a first-of-its-kind, single material pouch designed to increase recycling value.
- Nespresso introduced new capsules made with 80% recycled aluminum, an important step towards circularity.
- Nestle’s water business has doubled the amount of rPET used since 2019 across its still water portfolio in the US to 16.5%.
Pillar 2: Shaping a waste-free future
- In August 2020, Nestlé Philippines reached plastic neutrality. This meant Nestlé collected and co-processed the equivalent amount of plastic as contained in the products sold and prevented the further flow of plastic into landfills and oceans.
- In collaboration with Project STOP, Nestlé creates a sustainable waste management system that helps reduce ocean plastic pollution in Indonesia.
- The firm began on a trial to collect, sort and process soft plastics in Australia.
- Nestlé is increasing reusable and refillable options for its Petcare and soluble coffee products through collaboration with the startup company MIWA in Switzerland.
- Nestlé advocates for the design and implementation of affordable and effective mandatory Extended Producer Responsibility schemes. It identified 20 countries, which consists of 50% of the company’s plastic usage, where the company will support recycling rates and waste management infrastructure.
Pillar 3: Driving new behaviour
- Nestlé is implementing a sustainable packaging education and training programme for more than 290,000 employees in a bid to accelerate behavioural change and allow the company to meet its packaging aims.
- Nestlé introduced a digital platform to allow its consumers to dispose of their packaging waste appropriately in Italy.
- Nescafe Dolce Gusto introduced a consumer education campaign to promote recycling in Germany and Mexico.
- Nestlé is accelerating positive change through school programmes, such as the Tunuyan Verde project in Argentina.
- The Algramo, MIWA and Loop pilots of refillable and reusable packaging solutions provide a new shopping experience.
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.