Nestlé Nigeria is committed to a waste-free future and has taken steps to promote environmentally sound waste management practices for a clean, safe, and sustainable planet. As part of the Nestlé Cares Initiative 2023, over 400 Nestlé employees cleaned up 12 markets across the country, collecting 6,660kg of solid waste and 79kg of recyclables across the locations. Rebecca Ejifoma reports
Nigeria faces a major environmental problem as a result of excessive use of plastic for drinks and food packaging. Sadly, millions of tons of plastic waste have accumulated over time and continue to pile up in the environment, with some buried in landfills and others dumped on the streets and in drainages. Yet not many Nigerians are ready to shed that unhealthy behaviour.
Therefore, to enlighten Nigerians on the fringe benefit of saving the planet and sustaining the environment, over 400 volunteers from Nestle Nigeria showed up at 12 markets across the country. They helped pick up trash and beautify the area to the amazement of residents and pedestrians. These volunteers were employees from Nestle Nigeria, who were eager to give back to their community and help create a more sustainable environment.
The market locations are in states including Lagos, Kano, Port-Harcourt in Rivers, Sagamu in Ogun, Ibadan in Oyo, Jos in Plateau, Abuja and Abaji in the FCT, Awka in Anambra, Ota and Agbara in Ogun, and Enugu powered by MAGGI, one of Nestlé’s leading brands.
Every year, volunteers under Nestlé Cares, the company’s global employee volunteering initiative, collaborate with the Africa Clean-Up Initiative (ACI), an NGO passionate about raising environmentally responsible citizens, for clean-up, sensitisation, and advocacy on Environmental Sustainability.
This year, the cleanup initiative provided the necessary equipment and resources for a more effective outcome. Volunteers were given waste bags to collect trash, rakes, trash grabbers, and wheelbarrows to convey the collected garbage. They had disposable gloves on, and nose masks.
The event was not only about cleaning up the environment but also about educating and inspiring others to do the same. “At Nestlé, we are taking concrete actions to protect, renew, and restore the environment every day. We are conscious that indiscriminate waste disposal coupled with limited recovery services aggravate the waste crisis,” says Nestlé Nigeria’s Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Victoria Uwadoka.
According to her, Nestle Nigeria recognises that creating awareness through advocacy is necessary on its journey toward a waste-free future. Hence, their priorities include improving post-consumption plastic waste management by motivating behavioural changes and creating an efficient recovery system in collaboration with other industry and community stakeholders.
She emphasised: “We are also accelerating sustainability education through our employees, the media, our communities, and children in our Nestlé for Healthier Kids beneficiary schools”. Uwadoka hinted that the market clean-up exercises are one of the ways they have sustained their efforts to improve our environment over the past five years.
Lagos Generates 32m Tons of Waste Yearly
Nestle Nigeria’s resolve to clean the environment follows the worrisome rate of waste Lagos state generates annually. According to Dataphyte in June 2023, Nigeria generates more than 32 million tons of waste per year, with Lagos alone producing about 10,000 metric tons of waste daily.
Thus, the cleanup event is to help keep the city’s drainage channels and green spaces clear from debris. Nestle, however, lamented that Nigeria has a nascent waste collection system, adding that poorly managed waste ends up in waterways and clogged drainages, exacerbating the environmental hazards, including flooding plaguing the country due to the effects of climate change.
The firm admitted that addressing the plastic waste challenge requires behaviour change from all and Nestlé believes that there is no better place to start than from within. To propel such a change and address the waste challenge in line with its global challenge and with the company’s global vision that none of its post-consumer packaging waste ends up in waterways or as litter in the environment, Nestle collaborated internally and with external stakeholders to address the waste.
Nestle Employee Plastics Collection Scheme
The World Clean-Up Day, commemorated annually in September, provides a platform for Nestlé’s employees to help promote awareness of environmentally sound waste management practices for a clean, safe, and sustainable planet.
With a strong commitment to help protect, renew, and restore the environment, the company is implementing many initiatives to promote environmental sustainability.
In 2022, Nestlé Nigeria launched her employee plastics collection scheme which inspires staff to protect the environment and combat plastic pollution by inculcating the habit of sorting wastes at source and recycling for sustainable environmental management.
Through the scheme, employees return all plastic materials, not limited to the company’s brands. They earned points culminating in exciting rewards and management recognitions.
Partnership with LBS
Over the years, the company has partnered with the Lagos Business School Sustainability Centre on the “Advancing Nutrition, Health and Environmental Awareness through the Media” training. It equips journalists across the country to effectively communicate and educate the Nigerian populace on global best practices and lifestyle choices that impact everyday living and carry out fact-based reporting on nutrition, health, wellness, the environment, climate change, and corporate sustainability practices.
Nestlé has also extended her education campaign to the younger generations through the Sustainability Training for Kids which enables children to imbibe a sustainability mindset from an early age, thereby preparing them to become better stewards of the planet.
The training, implemented in collaboration with the International Climate Change Development Initiative (ICCDI), furnishes children with information on waste management, introduces them to the conversion of waste to useful items, and encourages them to adopt positive behavioural changes to enhance environmental sustainability.
The children are also taught sorting of waste at the source with the donation of segregated bins to participating schools.
6,660kg of Solid Waste and 79kg of Recyclables
According to the Founder/CEO of the African Clean-Up Initiative, Dr Alexander Akhigbe, participating in clean-up exercises is a great way to get involved and make a difference in keeping our environment clean and healthy for everyone. At the African Clean-Up Initiative, we are passionate about raising environmentally responsible citizens and communities, working for the highest good of the planet.
“For this year’s exercise, we ensured the proper management of over 6,660kg of solid waste and 79kg of recyclables collected across all the locations, so that they do not end up back in the environment. We are honoured to be working with Nestlé Nigeria as her implementing partners for this year’s event,” he added.
A member of the Ojuwoye market committee in Mushin, Lagos, Comrade Aremu Komolafe, expressed his pleasure with volunteers from Nestlé Nigeria who joined the traders and market leaders to clean up the popular market in South-West Nigeria.
He acknowledged that with the significant amount of waste generated daily due to the large number of visitors and traders buying and selling, the burden of keeping the market clean is huge.
To mitigate the situation, the Lagos State government has mandated every Thursday for market clean-up and sensitisation of shop and store owners on the need for proper waste disposal.
Komolafe is excited that the cleanup initiative by Nestlé Nigeria will support these environmental sanitation efforts.
For Nestlé Nigeria, a leading member of the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA), it has resolved to continue to play its part to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment across its operating locations, helping to create a more sustainable world.
Nestle Nigeria’s resolve to clean the environment follows the worrisome rate of waste Lagos state generates annually. According to Dataphyte in June 2023, Nigeria generates more than 32 million tons of waste per year, with Lagos alone producing about 10,000 metric tons of waste daily