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One World event focusses on creating a greener future for communities

group in front of a sign saying 'one'
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In his opening speech at this year’s One World event, Robin Sundaram, Responsible Sourcing Manager at Nestlé UK & Ireland, said: “We know about the environmental impact of climate change, but the social impacts are significant.

“We are all about regeneration – not just of our natural assets such as soils, forests and rivers – but also the regeneration of our communities. The two are inextricably linked,” he added.

In the face of growing inequality within a climate emergency, creating a sustainable future for communities was the focus of this year’s One World event.

Held in-person at Nestlé UK & Ireland’s offices in York and streamed internally online, the event encouraged 185 future leaders to think about some of the biggest social challenges and opportunities in local communities and how individual actions can make a difference.

One World is a network of people at Nestlé who are passionate about the future of the planet; determined to educate and empower future leaders of the business to act and drive change.

Exhibitor stalls from local charities and national organisations showcased what they do and how critical the role of volunteers is to help them achieve their goals and have a positive impact on communities.

Eight external speakers were invited to the three different sessions.

Participants in the first panel discussed modern slavery, its definition and its varying forms including forced labour, child slavery and criminal exploitation. A video set the scene showcasing how modern slavery isn’t always easy to spot. Justine Carter from the anti-slavery charity Unseen and Abigail Munroe from Walk Free explained how vast the issue is, both in the UK and worldwide, and why understanding the issue at a ground level and recognising it in everyday life is key to combatting it.

Youth engagement with sustainability was the topic at the second session. Younger generations are more engaged in social and environmental issues more than ever and Mick Jackson from WildHearts encouraged listeners to keep that momentum going, especially in schools and businesses. The power of businesses as a force for good and supporting the development of green skills in young employees “for a job for tomorrow” to drive a more sustainable future, was also highlighted by Emily Porter from the North Yorkshire Business and Education Partnership.

The final panel of the day centered around communities in the cost-of-living crisis. They outlined the benefits of growing some of your own food as well as identifying the drivers of food poverty. More than 7 million people in the UK face food insecurity and Joseph Chow from Community Shop discussed how they are supporting local communities with better food access.

Louise Burn, Climate & Carbon Neutrality Manager for Nestlé Waters Europe, said: “Our One World network is all about bringing the outside into Nestlé. We aim to educate employees about the environmental and social issues that affect us all and give them the tools to engage on these topics at work and in their everyday lives. We were really excited to host our event again this year – this time with a focus on communities – and we had fantastic support from organisations local to our York office to help bring these topics to life.” 

Dr Emma Keller, Head of Sustainability for Nestlé UK & Ireland, said: “We were delighted to welcome a number of our community partners and fantastic organisations, who work to support communities up and down the country. Addressing issues from food waste and food redistribution, to mental health, modern slavery and youth engagement, these organisations all share our passion for improving lives and livelihoods in communities that we are present in and that we serve.”

Nestlé’s One World event is inspired by the global One Young World summit and is centered around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It looks at what can be achieved to empower individuals to take personal responsibility for the future.

The UN launched the SDGs in 2015, to focus the work of sustainability on 17 key areas that will help end poverty, improve health and tackle climate change. As a company, Nestlé helped to shape the SDGs and is working hard to achieve them.

The Nestlé One World network was launched in 2019 to bring together employees within Nestlé, passionate about the future of the planet.