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Nestlé at COP27: “You need to have boots on the ground, working with these farmers.”

During the UN climate conference COP27, Nestlé participated in the COP27 Climate Hub, an on-site and digital broadcast hosted by We Don’t Have Time from Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt. Saint-Francis Tohlang, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs Director of Nestlé East & Southern Africa Region, joined the broadcast from Sharm El-Sheikh to talk about regenerative agriculture.
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Saint-Francis Tohlang joined the COP27 Climate Hub on November 12 to talk about regenerative agriculture.

Nestlé is one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, and as such has a massive opportunity to help farmers across the world to produce food in a more sustainable way. Regenerative agriculture is key to transforming how food is produced, providing significant potential benefits when it comes to climate action and food security, but it is a difficult transition to make.
To promote regenerative agriculture in the farming community, it is essential to work in close cooperation with farmers to understand the challenges that they are facing and to help them understand the need to evolve existing practices. To do this, Nestlé has developed the Farmer Connect program, where the company provides farmers with tools and knowledge to help make their food production more sustainable, and in return, Nestlé can help improve the traceability of key ingredients. The program brings value to both farmer communities and to Nestlé as a company, delivering more sustainable agriculture practices.
Nestlé is working holistically with farmers to help improve livelihoods through different types of incentives. Saint-Francis brought up two inspiring success stories in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, Nestlé is addressing the risk of child labor by incentivizing farmers to keep their children in school and encouraging crop diversification, which can provide farmers with an alternative income. Farmers have also adopted agroforestry, which increases the resilience of their crops. Taken together, these measures help address the root causes of social and environmental issues in this region.
Nestlé is investing about 1.2 billion Swiss francs by 2025 to scale regenerative agriculture in its supply chain. By investing, collaborating, and moving things in the right direction, Nestlé is taking a leading position. “We do not have all the solutions, but we do not have time either, and we are doing our best to move the needle and push the right kind of agriculture,” says Saint-Francis Tohlang.
Incentivizing the farmers is a big part of the promotion work. "It is almost like change management, and change management is about gradually building ambassadors for the change, and that's what you are able to do when the farmer sees tangible benefits not only for their own livelihood but also for the environment. I think it is a win-win, and it is getting us somewhere…. it is not perfect, there is a lot more work to do, but it is definitely a journey, and as I said, if you think about change management, that farmer will then share with their peer, with their neighbor, leading to wonderful results" says Saint-Francis.

Rewatch the COP27 Climate Hub anytime on We Don’t Have Time Play.
  • Sarah Chabane

    14 w

    Very interesting to see this regenerative agriculture initiative in Africa, considering the size of Nestlé, this kind of project can have a significant impact!

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