Nestlé invests in green technology and jobs
Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region (Esar), the maker of brands such as Ricoffy and Bar One, has unveiled an energy efficiency project that uses artificial intelligence technologies to reduce carbon emissions and save water at its Babelegi factory, in Hammanskraal, outside Pretoria.
This is part of the group’s plans internationally to reduce carbon emissions by 25% in 2025 across all its operations and achieve net zero by 2050. It plans to, among other things, roll out renewable electricity in the 187 countries where it operates and increase the number of “carbon neutral” brands.
At Babelegi, where Nestlé produces Maggie 2-Minute Noodles, the company partnered with The Emissions Capture Company (Ecco), in which Royal Bafokeng has a stake, to implement a technology that captures carbon dioxide (CO2) from flue gas emissions, recycles industrial waste water and creates sustainable green products.
The green products can be sold directly (for animal feed, human food, consumer goods, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals) or used to eliminate sulphur dioxide emissions without the need for water.
Saint-Francis Tohlang, corporate communications and public affairs director at Nestlé Esar, said in a statement that the group’s “global commitment to reduce our impact on the environment influences every part of our business today. This partnership with Ecco demonstrates a significant evolution of our production processes to embrace circular principles at every step.”
Thomas Darden, Ecco’s CEO, said the company uses green chemistry and artificial intelligence to extract CO2 from emissions, using it as an ingredient in everyday products.
“This partnership helps pave the way for a green economy. Our approach was holistic, ensuring that pollution remediation was key, along with other considerations such as water recycling and low fuel consumption,” he said.
He added that the shift from legacy technologies to low carbon emission processes also improves livelihoods through employment creation, training and upskilling.
The pilot project has resulted in the creation of 15 jobs, with the potential to add more when the technology is expanded to other plants.
Companies locally and worldwide are integrating environmental strategies to help them play a role in climate change.
SA, the world’s 12th-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, is dependent on coal for more than 80% of its power. The transition will include investments in renewable energy projects, and other innovative technical developments and investments in areas such as electric vehicles and green hydrogen.
Consulting group PwC said in a statement recently that across Africa, businesses, industries, societies, and the natural environment are under threat from rising global temperatures caused by extremely high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.