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Ivanka Stojnić, Sustainability Manager For The Southeast European Market At Nestlé

Regenerative Agriculture As A Key Sustainable Practice

Nestlé Serbia, as the first Nestlé company in the region, has begun applying regenerative agriculture practices and continues to expand the number of domestic producers it includes in this pioneering programme.

Our plan is to source half of our key raw materials from regenerative agriculture by 2030, which will impact positively on the environment and local communities – announces Nestlé’s Ivanka Stojnić, before presents more details of the company strategy that’s being applied at the global level.

What are the key benefits of regenerative agriculture and how do you promote these kinds of practices in Serbia?

Regenerative agriculture represents a response to the challenges brought to the planet and society by conventional agriculture. Instead of securing food supplies, conventional farming practices are becoming a worse source of pollution than, for instance, the energy sector, which is worrisome. Regenerative agriculture paves the way to a more sustainable, environmentally responsible and economically prosperous agricultural sector. With a focus on restoring the soil and preserving biodiversity, it encompasses practices like strip till, cover crops, organic fertilisers and technologically advanced precision agriculture.

Through partnerships with local producers of vegetables, sunflowers and – as of this year – soybeans, Nestlé wishes to promote sustainable practices in agriculture and to support local communities. These and similar partnerships enable new agricultural practices to be applied in the production of the raw materials that are crucial to our products, which in turn contributes to the company’s long-term sustainability and more environmentally responsible operations, while we believe that it also sets a good example for the agricultural sector, with the aim of preserving the land for future generations.

Why did Nestlé opt to promote this approach to land cultivation?

Our plan is to source half of our key raw materials from renewable agriculture by 2030. Let’s use the strip till technique as an example. So-called shallow ploughing contributes to preserving soil and concentrating organic matter, while it also reduces the ecological footprint of agriculture and improves the sustainability of supply chains. The preservation of soil fertility is thus encouraged, with its erosion reduced, while savings on production resources are also made, with reduced fuel and fertiliser consumption, which also has positive economic effects.

Regenerative agriculture paves the way to a more sustainable, environmentally responsible and economically prosperous agricultural sector

Furthermore, biodiversity isn’t only a key aspect of regenerative agriculture, but is also essential to the long-term sustainability of all food production systems. If the organic matter in soil continues to fall, the soil loses its quality and has a reduced ability to produce high-quality yields, which is why promoting regenerative agriculture practices is a task of both private companies and society as a whole. This is all reflected in our commitment to responsible operations and caring for the planet, and forms part of our strategy to impact the environment positively while simultaneously providing high-quality products.

How does this approach correspond to your environmental responsibility policies?

As a signatory to the UN’s Global Compact against climate change of 1.5°C, Nestlé has published a detailed plan to combat climate change. One of the elements is reducing emissions of harmful gases, with the end goal of achieving net zero by 2050. At the global level, Nestlé is already collaborating with 500,000 farmers and 150,000 suppliers in order to support them in applying regenerative agriculture principles that are ultimately directed towards restoring the ecosystem.

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