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Nestlé spreads its wings to support UK butterflies

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75 acres of butterfly meadows to be created

butterfly meadow planting
Watch: Nestlé UK to create 75 acres of butterfly meadows

The homes of KIT KAT, NESCAFÉ, BUXTON and ROWNTREE’S are sowing the seeds to help halt the decline of the UK’s butterfly population as part of a new national programme. Nestlé UK & Ireland will co-ordinate the planting of nearly 75 acres of butterfly meadows – the equivalent of almost 250 football pitches - with the aim of attracting more than 10 varieties of butterflies to the sites.

By 2015 all 15 UK sites will have a wildflower meadow within the factory grounds.  In addition, seven dairy farmers, part of the Nestlé First Milk Sustainability Partnership1 have joined the programme to boost the total to 75 acres. The farmers are from the group who supply the Girvan factory in Scotland with around 70 million litres of milk each year to be used in Nestlé’s milk chocolate and will plant wildflower meadows on their land.  Nestlé will look to further expand the programme across the entire supply chain.

Mike Dilger, Vice President of Butterfly Conservation, naturalist, TV presenter and broadcaster: “This is very positive news from Nestlé. I am fully supportive of any programme which sees the planting of new habitats for butterflies and other pollinators and I welcome their lead on this issue. 

Whether it is unused space within a factory site, a farm, a school, a back garden or even a window box, nature in the UK needs help and I hope Nestlé’s commitment to wildflower meadows inspires other businesses, organisations and individuals to follow suit.”

Working with local representatives from Natural England and Northumberland Wildlife Trust and the Butterfly Conservation, Nestlé employees, families and local schools have already started planting the meadows hoping to attract varieties such as the Large White (Pieris brassicae) Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta), the Small Copper, Wall Brown and the Meadow Brown. Employees and local communities will record new butterfly sightings with the imminent launch of a new app to assist them. The specially designed mobile app which will automatically log findings on the local Wildlife Trust database as part of a campaign to monitor butterfly numbers across the UK.

Butterfly Meadow image
Nestlé UK : Butterfly Meadow

Nestlé has established a set of criteria for each site around planning, maintaining and improving the meadows.  They include employee, community and external expert engagement, correct seeds to plant and how the butterflies are monitored. Each meadow will be independently verified by using the criteria as a measure.

Inder Poonaji, Head of Environmental Sustainability Nestlé UK who developed the programme said:
“Without nature, we don’t exist. Nature provides pollinators such as butterflies, bees and birds and they are integral to the food we grow. Their habitats are at risk which is why we are announcing this programme, to encourage biodiversity across not only our sites but also land belonging to our First Milk farmers. Over the next few years, we would like to work with more organisations, businesses and people across our entire supply chain to make this project truly national.”

“Butterflies are vital for our ecosystem but they are facing particularly tough conditions. Their numbers indicate the environmental health of an area and by restoring natural habits we will see an increase in both fauna and flora thereby increasing the local biodiversity2 and helping local indigenous species.”

In May this year, the State of Nature report compiled by 25 wildlife organisations was launched suggesting 60% of animal and plant species studied have declined in the past 50 years. The small tortoiseshell butterfly has declined in abundance by 77% in the last ten years, while the British butterfly population is continuing a marked downward trend. Beetles and wildflowers are also among the most vulnerable species.

The Butterfly Conservation 2012 report revealed numbers of the insects fell by more than 20% between 2010 and 2011 adding that there was a long-term and on-going deterioration of suitable butterfly habitats across the countryside.

Mike Pratt, Chief Executive, Northumberland Wildlife Trust said: “It is wonderful for us to see a company that is an international household name embracing wildlife conservation so passionately. Nestlé UK has created a butterfly meadow on their local site at Fawdon which is part of landscape-scale vision to rebuild a network of green space for the benefit of wildlife and people.” 

In 2012, Nestlé launched a global commitment on natural capital2 and as part of this has adopted a strategy to identify its reliance and potential impact on the nature around production sites in the UK. Operating factories across the UK and using agricultural raw materials, Nestlé understands its responsibility to develop the business in a way that promotes natural capital and in particular biodiversity3.

To watch the story of Nestlé’s programme of butterfly meadow planting, click here:

For more information, please contact Nestlé Press Office on 020 8667 6005 [email protected]

Rights free imagery available at

To date, five of the 14 Nestlé sites have already planted their butterfly meadows ecological sanctuaries:

  • Nestlé Girvan on the west coast of Scotland manufacture milk crumb, a combination of milk, sugar and cocoa mass and is a key ingredient in milk chocolate. The milk is produced by dedicated First Milk farmers all based within 50 miles of the factory.
  • Nestlé Fawdon, Newcastle Upon Tyne – home of Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles and Fruit Gums, Rolo, Munchies, Toffee Crisp, Matchmakers, Caramac, Breakaway and Blue Riband.
  • Nestlé Waters in Buxton - produces Buxton and Pure Life bottled water
  • Nestlé Tutbury, South Derbyshire home of several Nescafe products including Dolce Gusto, Nescafe Original and Gold Blend
  • Nestlé Dalston, Cumbria - Powdered beverages such as Nescafe Café Menu and Coffee-mate

1 Nestlé First Milk Sustainability Partnership - Since 2011, Nestlé has partnered with First Milk, the only major British farmer-owned dairy company in the UK, in order to help dairy farmers reduce their environmental impact, improve the quality of their milk and in turn benefit their farming business. We have been working with more than 60 of First Milk farmers based near our Girvan factory in Scotland who supply the site with around 75 million litres of milk each year. To date the milk supply group has successfully reduced its total greenhouse gas emissions by 5.7%, equating to 5,517 tonnes of carbon saved, and reduced total non-livestock water usage by 5.1%. The figures were calculated by The E-CO2 Project1, which provides detailed energy and carbon assessments for farms, using a carbon footprint calculator accredited by the Carbon Trust.
3 Natural capital is the sum total of nature’s resources and environmental services, which are essential for human life and economic activity.
3 Biodiversity is defined by the UN Convention of Biological Diversity as “the variability among living organisms, which includes the diversity at ecosystem, species and genetic levels”