Nestle CEO says business case for sustainability emerges as consumers demand it more than before


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Nestle is maintaining growth despite committing billions of dollars towards improving the company's environmental footprint, CEO Mark Schneider told CNBC Thursday.

“Today's consumer asks even more than before for sustainability. They want to know that we are treating the planet well, they want to know we're taking care of the next generation,” he said in an interview with Jim Cramer on “Mad Money.”

“I think there's a good business case emerging and that's what we're pursuing,” said Schneider, whose interview landed on Earth Day.

As laid out in its sustainability strategy, Nestle plans to reduce emissions within its business and supply chains, snuffing out its carbon footprint by 2050.

In the near term, the Switzerland-based food and beverage maker, whose portfolio includes Gerber, KitKat and Nespresso, has announced moves to end its dependence on deforestation by next year and to shift operations completely to renewable electricity by 2025. The company operates in 187 countries.

Meanwhile, Nestle is advocating for regenerative agriculture practices and campaigning to plant 20 million trees each year this decade, according to its website. KitKat on Thursday also pledged that by 2025 the chocolate brand would achieve carbon neutrality: a balance between emitting and absorbing carbon in the atmosphere.

“The younger, the better educated and the wealthier consumer, the more interested they are in environmentally sound products and practices,” Schneider said. “Digital these days means that there's total transparency about your supply chain, so people do understand what you're doing for the planet and they reward the companies that are leading this trend.”

The comments come after the consumer packaged goods company reported first-quarter results that well surpassed Wall Street's expectations. Nestle, which is based in Switzerland, reported organic growth of 7.7% from the same quarter last year, more than double the expected growth rate of 3.3%.

When compared to pre-pandemic levels, Nestle's total revenue of almost $23 billion in the first three months was 5% higher from 2019.

Shares of Nestle rose 2.38% Thursday, closing the session at $119.71.

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