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In recent years we have all become increasingly aware of the threats to our very existence – growing populations, increased food demand, factory farming, soil depletion, deforestation, loss of habitat, species extinction, air, land and water pollution. Climate change is causing more frequent droughts, wildfires, floods and catastrophic weather events.

Putting social and environmental considerations first

As demand for food grows, we need to change the ways in which we source and produce food. We need to protect our supply chains and the people who work within them. This is not a public relations gesture. It’s recognition of the real need to ensure security of the supply chain we depend on as a business and as human beings.

Fundamental to this is a duty to ensure that our business and the organisations in our supply chain source the raw materials that we need responsibly.


Responsible sourcing is a way of doing business that enables us to say with confidence that we know where our ingredients and packaging materials come from and how they were made.

What are we doing to source responsibly?

Quite rightly, our consumers want to feel confident in where what they eat and drink actually comes from, that it is good quality and safe. They want to know that companies like Nestlé are working to source ingredients responsibly, with care for the social and environmental impact on farmers, communities and the planet.

We work with our suppliers to make our supply chains transparent, from source to finished product. This often means identifying and addressing key issues, such as:

  • human rights
  • environmental protection
  • animal welfare
  • safety and health
  • business integrity.

The Nestlé Responsible Sourcing Standard

One of the foundations of our Corporate Business Principles is the Nestlé Responsible Sourcing Standard (pdf, 2Mb). Based on the UN Global Compact, the Standard is an integral part of all of our purchase orders and supply contracts. It sets out basic non-negotiable standards as well as important and urgent sustainability practices that we ask our suppliers, their employees, agents and subcontractors to adhere to.

We use these standards and principles to align our activities with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

cows feeding on hay

We gauge our progress in responsible sourcing against three key metrics:

  1. Number of suppliers compliant with our Responsible Sourcing Standard (written in conjunction with The Earthworm Foundation and Verité)
  2. Percentage of our priority ingredients sourced in accordance with our Responsible Sourcing Standard
  3. Percentage of our priority ingredients traceable to mill and origin

Checking our sources

To ensure that our suppliers adhere to our Responsible Sourcing Standard we commission independent audits from certification organisations such as:

These audits follow SMETA Best Practice Guidance (pdf, 2Mb).

If non-compliance issues are found, we ask the supplier to develop an action plan. Our auditors will then verify that the plan has been implemented. If a supplier fails to effectively manage identified risks or meet agreed deadlines, we take decisive action.

man in a field

Responsible sourcing key metrics

To us, responsible sourcing means paying attention to critical social, environmental, economic and animal welfare issues when procuring all of our products and services, not just raw materials.
in the mix priority

Sourcing our raw materials involves thousands of communities and people, in a chain that stretches back from direct suppliers to deliverers, importers, processors, storers, sorters, pickers and the growers on small farms. We review their practices regarding health and safety, human rights, child labour, modern slavery, methods of growing, harvesting, storing and processing – to identify areas for improvement.

Our expert partners are there to assess problems and create development plans. They help farmers improve crop production, provide community training and awareness. We do this to eliminate environmental impacts like deforestation and to give children greater access to education.



child at school
Nestlé Cocoa Plan


Helping farmers boost their income through improved farming techniques and growing additional crops. The plan also offers women and children access to education and is working to address the challenges of child labour.

Nescafé Plan


In 2010, we brought our 80 years of global coffee knowledge to the next level, with one aim: to make sure all our coffee is responsibly sourced. It’s just one small part of our push to help farmers, farming communities and the planet.

Responsible Sourcing
Nestlé First Milk Partnership


Animal welfare and sustainable farming go hand in hand. And the 80 local farmers supplying fresh milk to our manufacturing site in Dalston, Cumbria and Girvan in Scotland know they can rely on the support from Nestlé and First Milk to help reduce their environmental impact.