Nestlé’s failing net-zero plan and methane blindspot exposed ahead of its AGM (English)

20 Apr 2023 Growing the Good
  • Projections across Nestlé’s headquarters set the tone for the company’s AGM as campaigners call on shareholders to CUT METHANE & COME CLEAN NOW
  • Despite its net-zero pledge, in the last five years Nestlé has only reduced emissions by 1%
  • A specific target to reduce methane is missing from Nestlé’s Net-Zero plan – despite estimated methane emissions from its dairy production alone being equivalent to twice the entire livestock sector of Switzerland
  • New analysis from Changing Markets shows Nestlé is failing to meet UN Net-Zero standards and is not prioritising scientifically robust emissions reduction measures

As Nestlé prepares to begin its AGM today civil society have called out one of the largest food and beverage company’s Net Zero pledge – with projections emblazoning CUT METHANE and COME CLEAN NOW and images of George Clooney with the tagline ‘We don’t talk about Methane’ across Nestlé’s HQ.

The projections accompany the launch of Changing Markets Foundation’s latest briefing ‘Net-Zero Integrity: Nestlé’s methane blindspot’, which analyses the robustness of the Swiss company’s net-zero plan. The briefing finds Nestlé’s roadmap weak – completely failing four and only partially meeting the remaining five of the relevant recommendations in the prestigious UN Secretary General backed report on net-zero standards: Integrity Matters. The UN has called for substantial non-CO2 emissions to be reported and targeted separately but Nestlé has no specific plan to address its outsized methane emissions. In addition, it is unlikely that the company will meet its target of 50% reduction by 2030, having so far only reduced its emissions in scope by 1% since 2018. Together these findings show that Nestlé’s climate plans are not in line with what’s required by the science to stay under 1.5 degrees.

“Failing to meet UN standards not only means that Nestlé’s net-zero plans lack teeth but it is also at risk of being a greenwashing exercise. What is especially worrying is that Nestlé has no specific methane reduction target – which is astonishing when its dairy production alone emits around twice as much methane as the entire livestock sector of Switzerland, ” said Maddy Haughton-Boakes, Campaign Adviser, Changing Markets Foundation.

Nestlé’s total methane emissions from its dairy operations alone were estimated to be 8.74 million tonnes of CO2e, yet the company has no independent target or plan for reducing these emissions specifically. Worryingly, the IPCC and several other recent scientific reports have highlighted the crucial role cutting methane emissions plays in staying below 1.5 degrees.

“Nestlé has had its head in the sand on the question of methane for too long. That’s why we have brought the message to its headquarters – climate science can no longer be ignored by a big climate polluter like Nestlé. Nestlé must bring its net-zero plan in line with UN recommendations by COP28 at the latest, and set a specific methane target of at least 30% by 2030 in line with the Global Methane Pledge. We hope its shareholders see this and ask some tough questions,” said Maddy Haughton-Boakes.

The spotlight on Nestlé’s net-zero and methane pledges comes as civil society groups unite as ‘Climate Claims Watch’ to expose corporate greenwashing in the form of creative accounting, false or unproven solutions (such as forms of carbon offsetting or carbon ‘insetting’) and zero accountability. This new report from Changing Markets, backed by Climate Claims Watch, highlights how Nestlé’s net-zero roadmap is just another attempt at greenwashing – building on the greenwash its brands have previously been called out for. Climate Claims Watch is calling for government legislation to hold companies accountable through mandating science-based emissions reduction targets (including specific methane targets) and detailed reporting from companies such as Nestlé. These should be verified by an independent third-party.

“Nestle’s failure to set a clear target to cut methane by 30% by 2030 in line with the COP 26 Global Methane pledge, shows a serious lack of ambition. If it wants to be a global leader Nestlé needs to set measurable goals to reduce its huge methane emissions, including reducing its herd, improving feed for cattle, and shifting towards more plant-based alternatives.” said Jurjen de Waal, from environmental group Mighty Earth.

High resolution photos and video of the projections from Nestlé’s HQ in Vevey in Switzerland can be found here (please credit Changing Markets Foundation)




Notes to Editors:

  • Interviews with spokespeople are available in English and French
  • Changing Markets Foundation briefing ‘Net-Zero Integrity: Nestlé’s methane blindspot’ can be downloaded here
  • The briefing release coincides with the launch of the Climate Claims Watch campaign highlighting the lack of integrity of Nestle’s net-zero claims
  • Two crucial pieces of EU legislation; the Green Claims Directive & Empowering Consumers for the green transition are set to determine the types of climate claims corporations and brands can use. Many CSOs, including Changing Markets, think the proposal falls short. And here’s why they are so important.
  • In March 2023, the Changing Markets Foundation published ‘Feeding Us Greenwash: An analysis of misleading claims in the food sector’ exposing the rampant greenwashing by the food industry, available here.
  • In November 2022, the Changing Markets Foundation and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) published ‘Emissions Impossible: How emissions from big meat and dairy are heating up the planet – Methane Edition’, which calculated the emissions of 15 major meat and dairy companies, including Nestlé. This is available here.


Rachel Brabbins, +55 21 98299 8251

Maddy Haughton-Boakes,, +44 7579 001812 (available for interviews in English)

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