Ricardo Miguelañez, Agricultural Engineer. @rmiguelanez
Since 1985 , Solis belongs to the Nestle Corporation , is striving to its policy of corporate social responsibility , working to reduce the environmental impact on the ecosystem . This policy has been constant in recent years. In this sense , Solis, fried tomato produces high quality , produced in Spain , on local farms . Sustainability is one of the most important prerequisites for this brand, working every day to develop this type of product in a sustainable manner . Therefore, this week we interviewed Felipe Qcom.es Anton, Brand Manager at Nestle Solis who explains the strategy, the importance of sustainability to Solis and how their effort is recognized by consumers.
Ricardo Miguelañez.- What does sustainability mean for Nestlé?
Felipe Antón.- We view sustainability as an environmental, economic and social issue. It is an extremely important part of our long-term strategy. We believe the future of the company is linked to the future of the planet and hinges on the responsible use of natural resources.
R.M. How do you apply it to your various activities?
We consider it in all of our actions, as it is a central part of our long-term strategy. Nestlé's main method for creating shared value is to offer delicious, nutritionally balanced products which contribute to people's health and well-being by being socially responsible and environmentally sustainable. In other words: we aim to develop our businesses in a way that is environmentally friendly, meeting current needs without compromising those of future generations.
R.M.- What is Solis Responsable and why has it been given that name?
F.A.- We like to say that Solís Responsable is more than a simple project; it's a philosophy, a way of doing things. Solís launched its first tomato sauce in Spain more than 50 years ago, and we believe that now is the time to go one step further and make a commitment to our consumers, the environment, and the future.
The initiative comprises three pillars:
• NUTRITION: We want to offer balanced products for the whole family, with a 100% natural flavor, a hint of salt and no preservatives
• LOCAL PRODUCTS: All of our tomatoes come from local farms in Vega del Guadiana (Extremadura)
• ENVIRONMENT: We use environmentally-friendly practices and methods which ensure more sustainable agriculture in the long term. A good example is the water savings we achieved in 2014: 254 million liters, equivalent to the monthly consumption of a town of 58,000 people.
R.M.- In this case, environmental sustainability is very important. Which type of packaging do you use and why?
F.A.- We want to be environmentally responsible in all of our actions, and it's clear that this is a key area. We aim to reduce the environmental impact of our packaging.
A good example of this is our carton packages, from SIG Combibloc, which have proven to be one of the most environmentally friendly options available for foods with a long shelf life. Moreover, all of these packages bear the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) logo, which certifies that the raw paperboard used was manufactured using only wood fibers that can be proven to originate from responsibly managed forests.
R.M.- How is sustainability encouraged and how does it affect your suppliers of raw materials, packaging, and other products and services required to develop your own products?
F.A.- Nestlé is concerned about the environmental impact of its operations throughout the entire value chain, not just at our factories, and working together with our suppliers is essential for us.
R.M.- How are you compensated for these efforts? Does the consumer recognize what you do?
F.A.- We launched the Solís Responsable initiative in late 2014, and we are absolutely satisfied with the results we have obtained to date. At the moment, we know that consumers view the initiative as very positive, and visits to the Solís Responsable website (www.solisresponsable.es) are far exceeding our expectations.
R.M.- How does sustainability align with Nestlé's general CSR policy?
F.A.- It is a fundamental part of our policy. In fact, sustainability—as well as compliance with legislation and our corporate principles—is the foundation on which Shared Value Creation is built. To create shared value, we must ensure that we are complying with the law as well as with the most rigorous business practices, and we must use resources efficiently.
The three areas of action in which Nestlé focuses shared value creation are Nutrition, Water, and Rural development. In fact, the Solís Responsable initiative aligns perfectly with those areas.
R.M.- You are clearly committed to sustainability; however, the crisis has fueled the debate about the cost for companies. Is it really a cost, or is it an investment that, in some ways, provides cost savings?
F.A.- We talk about environmental sustainability, but also social and economic sustainability. For us, it's clearly an investment and a driver of competitiveness.
R.M.- What are your expectations for this product? How do you believe customers are going to view it?
F.A.- The initial feedback we have from our consumers is very positive. We also know that this type of initiative is increasingly valued by the consumer, both in Spain and in other countries.
We will continue working in this same direction, doing our small part to save the planet.
Our hope is that an increasing number of consumers choose our product, not only because of the flavor, but also because it's the most responsible option.