Nestlé Vietnam and MILO champion campaign to say no to plastic straws

July 19, 2021 | 08:00
Through a webinar on July 16, Nestlé Vietnam has committed its full support to the Say No to Plastic Straws campaign launched by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Sharing the spirit and fiery ambition of both the global Nestlé Group and Nestlé Vietnam to promote sustainability through tangible action, the ministry’s (MoNRE) campaign targets to remove single-use plastics from urban markets, convenience stores, and supermarkets by the end of 2021 and ridding the entire nation of single-use plastics by 2025.

Commenting on the campaign at last week’s webinar, Nestlé Vietnam managing director Binu Jacob shared his joy to see the company’s goals reflected in the campaign. “It is a great inspiration for Nestlé to see the Vietnamese government take the plastic waste challenge seriously. We also welcome concrete plans to eliminate single-use plastics by 2025 – an ambition we stand behind 100 per cent.”

“Our vision is to ensure that no packaging produced by Nestlé Group that includes plastic ends up on the landfill or becomes waste,” he added, highlighting the synergies between the Vietnamese government and the group’s goals. “We have made great efforts to reduce plastic waste such as switching to glass and recycled plastic bottles for La Vie and becoming a founding member of the Packaging Recycling Organization Vietnam, and just recently we have made probably the most significant step in our sustainability agenda by making the switch from plastic to paper straws.”

Nestlé Vietnam and MILO champion campaign to say no to plastic straws
Nestlé Vietnam and MILO champion campaign to say no to plastic straws

From plastic to paper straws

As one of the largest ready-to-drink milk brands in Vietnam, Nestlé’s decision to be the first in the market to use paper straws has come after significant preparatory work to find reliable material sources and the technology to produce straws fitting Nestlé’s requirements on safety and durability.

“Being a pioneer, we acknowledge the initial challenges in encouraging people, especially the younger generation, to create new consumption habits and to inspire them to be more mindful of the environment. Nevertheless, we believe that these steps are crucial to help tackle the serious environmental issues in Vietnam,” Jacob shared at the webinar.

On the same note, Ali Abbas, director of MILO and Dairy Products under Nestlé Vietnam, emphasised MILO’s vision to help build a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly Vietnam for future generations, with plastic reduction playing a key role. Joining the Say No to Plastic Straws campaign will be yet another milestone for MILO since it redoubled sustainability efforts in 2019.

Generating momentum by first putting recycling information on its packaging then launching a campaign to encourage children to collect and recycle used milk cartons last year, MILO pulled out all the stops this May by taking the leap to switch to paper straws. In the first year, the company will change 80 per cent of its packaging to paper straw. By May 2022, 100 per cent of the changes will be made.

“The initiative will result in a reduction of 700 tonnes of plastic waste per year. If all these plastic straws were lined up in a straight line, it would be nearly 179,000km long, more than 54 times the length of Vietnam’s coastline,” he said.

Nestlé and MILO have gone to great lengths to ensure the switch from plastic to paper straws will not affect product experience or quality – apart from filling the drinker with the satisfaction of responsible consumption. The paper straws are manufactured to the most exacting European standards to ensure safety while preserving the flavour and aroma of the drink.

The paper straws are made from 100 per cent virgin paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) without ink or recycled paper ingredients, making them easily disposable and environmentally friendly.

Behind Vietnam’s sustainable turn

At the webinar, Vo Tuan Nhan, Deputy Minister of Natural Resourses and Environment, highlighted the efforts of organisations and individuals that have rolled out practical initiatives, contributing to changing people’s awareness and habits regarding plastic waste. “We recognise and appreciate Nestlé Vietnam’s activities and commitments in responding to Vietnam’s anti-plastic waste efforts.”

He called on all relevant stakeholders to step up communications activities to raise awareness and responsibility to make changes. He encouraged organisations and businesses to apply new and green technologies to create more environmentally-friendly products, nourishing the formation of green shopping and consumption behaviours in Vietnamese society.

Nestlé is taking firm steps towards its goal of making 100 per cent of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, a cause that is deeply synergistic with the Say No to Plastic Straws campaign. Under the scheme, Nestlé will also launch a public relations campaign to back up its education programme to run on digital channels and television to encourage social progress on plastics and littering.

With support from key industry stakeholders such as the MILO brand, the MoNRE campaign will help raise public awareness about the harmful effects of plastic waste. The campaign is divided into three parts, going from raising public awareness of the plastic problem to encouraging community action and then garnering more wide-based social change towards sustainability.

Nestlé Vietnam has tied its roots to the development of local communities. Understanding that meaningful growth can only be achieved by spreading growth all around. The company has not only been providing the most nutritious and nourishing products to consumers, it took special care to be there for the people of Vietnam when it mattered the most.

Ensuring the livelihood and development of local farmers towards sustainable development through its NESCAFÉ Plan for the past 10 years, Nestlé Vietnam through its many brands has contributed nearly VND4 billion ($174,000) to domestic COVID-19 vaccine funds to help fight the latest coronavirus outbreak.

Since the first outbreak in early 2020, Nestlé Vietnam has been a staunch supporter of the government’s fight, with donations reaching VND47 billion ($2 million) including nutritional products, cash, and face masks for frontline forces as well as communities and small business partners affected by the ongoing pandemic.

By Thanh Van

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