Higher temperature, low crop yields, storms, droughts, changing monsoon, and even the increased number of cyclones and cyclone warnings in our coastal areas are just a few of the adverse weather events Pakistan witnessed in 2021 due to climate change.
Many people find it surprising that Pakistan is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change, even though our contribution to global carbon emissions is not that high. Sadly, the impact is not directly proportional to the emissions of developing countries.
According to experts, the reason why developing countries are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change is because of a lack of sufficient economic resources technology and a higher dependency on natural resources (for example, Pakistan’s economy is dependent on agriculture, which is one of the areas most impacted from climate change).
Countries with more developed and diversified economies have infrastructure and adaptation strategies to deal with climate change effects better than developing countries.
After nearly two weeks of tough negotiations, about 200 countries signed the Glasgow Climate Pact in November at COP26. A major win was that the signees acknowledged the role that fossil fuels have played in creating the climate crisis, but according to critics, it didn’t reflect the urgent actions needed.
The countries didn’t agree on phasing coal out, and the developed nations also did not agree on climate financing, which could help developing nations deal with the effects of climate change. Global politics might have ruled at COP26 but what is encouraging is that businesses based in developed countries with supply chains in lower-income countries have made commitments on climate change.
Many multinationals operating in Pakistan are working on reducing their carbon emissions by adapting their practices and ways of operation. Nestlé Pakistan, a company that finalized its 2025 Sustainability Roadmap. Under that roadmap, the company has pledged to reduce its emissions by 20 percent by 2025; by 2030, it will halve its emissions and become a Net Zero company by 2050.
Waqar Ahmad, the Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at Nestlé Pakistan, said, “Through our commitment, we are safeguarding the planet, protecting the livelihood of farmers who work with us and making our business sustainable today and for the future.” According to the company, they have been making their business sustainable for decades, but the Net Zero commitment has allowed them to scale up projects that promise impact.
As part of their 2025 roadmap, it is working on four pillars: Climate Action (initiatives related to the company’s fresh milk value chain), Sustainable Packaging (related to the company’s commitment to plastics), Water and Sustainable Sourcing (helping farmers switch to regenerative agriculture). Nestlé has committed to making 100 percent of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, and its vision is that none of its packaging’s end up in landfills or the environment.
The company has also committed to regenerating 100 percent of the water it uses for its waters business by 2025 and sourcing 20 percent of its key ingredients from Sustainable Sourcing. In 2021, Nestlé Pakistan met the sustainability targets that it had set for the year. A significant focus of the company was on its milk value chain, where most of its emissions come from.
They helped farmers import 5,000 high yield cows that will help them reduce the number of cattle but ensure the volume supply they need, resulting in lower carbon emissions. At the same time, they are encouraging farmers to switch to renewable energy (solar and biogas) and planting moringa trees that offer better carbon sequestration. They already planted 60,000 moringa trees in 2021.
In Plastics, they scaled up their Clean Gilgit and Hunza project and are now helping local governments in two cities collect and manage their waste and donating waste bins and benches made from recycled plastic. They also expanded Project TREK (Travel Responsibly for Ecotourism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) by arranging training and awareness sessions in several locations in KP.
In 2021, the company was able to build on the work they have been doing related to drip irrigation and smart soil sensors – both of which help farmers save water. The company is confident that all these initiatives will help achieve the 20 percent reduction target in carbon emissions by 2025. In 2022, the company will continue building on its successes and start a new project or two in its sustainability portfolio to deliver on its commitments.