The factories that run on coffee

At Nestlé, coffee is more than just a pick-me-up for stressed executives—it’s using spent coffee grounds to power its factories. In fact, coffee grounds help generate 24% of the renewable energy the company uses.

Renewables are at the heart of Nestlé’s strategy to battle the impacts of climate change. It can’t afford not to play its part: the company relies on access to commodities like coffee, which will be severely disrupted if we don’t get carbon emissions down. So the plan is to use more renewable energy in manufacturing every year, with the eventual aim of getting 100% of its power from renewables.

That’s the commitment Nestlé made when they joined RE100. Taking the lead on tackling climate change globally will protect the company’s future. And by investing in its supply chain, Nestlé set an example for others to follow.

Zero Waste at Nestlé

Ambitious projects around the world


At Cabazon in California, wind turbines are generating 30% of the plant’s power, or the equivalent of roughly 2,000 barrels of oil a year (3.4 million kWh).

Factories and offices across the United States are getting over 1 MWh of solar power from solar panels every year. In Mexico, Nestlé’s Chiapa de Corzo Coffee-mate factory made a US$250,000 investment in solar power and heat exchangers that saves the factory 123 tons of CO2e annually. And, following a power purchase agreement with Mexican wind turbine company CISA-GAMESA, 85% of the total electricity used by Nestlé’s factories in Mexico is now supplied by wind power. This makes Nestlé the first food company in Mexico to obtain nearly all the electrical energy needed for its manufacturing operations from a renewable source.


Greenhouse gas emissions in Nestlé’s Toluca factory are down 23%, thanks to the steam created by 54,000 tonnes of spent coffee grounds each year. And, at the Mossel Bay plant in South Africa, a five-year US$170 million investment plan will mean that the factory takes no water out of the local environment, thanks to new biomass boilers.

In Panama and Indonesia, Nestlé’s investment in biogas digesters is helping local livestock farmers convert methane from animal waste into energy. That’s cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing farmers’ reliance on wood—which means less deforestation, too.


At Fawdon in the UK, Nestlé is turning liquid and solid waste into energy with an anaerobic digestion system. The process creates 8% of the energy the plant needs currently by converting 200,000 litres of raw material a day into power; plus, increased capacity in 2015 means increased energy output to 10% of the plant’s needs. This site has already stopped sending any waste to the landfill three years ahead of its scheduled target.

Big results for the business

Between 2005 and 2014, Nestlé cut its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 40%, leading to an overall reduction of 13.5%. That puts Nestlé ahead of its 2015 target, even though production has grown by over 60% during the same period. Investing in renewables helped Nestlé cut their emissions by 4% last year alone.

Playing the long game

Renewable energy is part of a climate change strategy to protect Nestle’s business into the future. “For us, renewable energy is part of a strategy to mitigate against the inevitable effect of climate change,” says Pascal Gréverath, head of environmental sustainability at Nestlé. “Our motivation for investing in renewables is the long-term survival of our business, not a short-term payback.”

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