Accelerated Sustainable Resource Leadership Championed By Nestle Waters Sustainability Chief

Aug 11, 2016 8:00 PM ET

Pointing out that many collaboration efforts today may be well intentioned, but create limited shared value for both corporations and communities, Nelson Switzer, chief sustainability officer for Nestlé Waters North America, today called for aggressive new leadership in collective action through partnership to solve shared water challenges.  He outlined this thinking at the 2016 Global Sustainability Summit of the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association being held in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“I believe what we need to be doing together is bigger than collaboration. As business partners, we owe communities more. Whatever our role, be it business, government, civic group, industry association or the community, we owe each other more. All of us must work with each other toward mutually beneficial sustainability goals, creating environmental, social and economic value together,” said Switzer.

“One challenge we face is that many communities and businesses alike do not fully understand the benefits of collaboration, or are suspicious of working together. Many communities report they are mired in a philosophical struggle between mistrust and need,” he added.

Switzer continued on to note that for partnerships to work, to fulfill their promise, partners must listen and learn.  An honest accounting of needs, skills and resources is an excellent place to start followed closely by a shared goal and assessing whether the right partners are at the table and able to achieve this goal together.

“Laying this groundwork quickly cuts through misconceptions and helps establish a tone that can move one another from suspicion to trust – the beginning of a relationship,” he added.

He cited the work that Nestlé Waters North America is doing with the Project WET Foundation as illustrative of energized partnership promoting sustainable resource management. Nestlé Waters teamed with Project WET to educate teachers and give them the tools they need to raise the profile of water’s many challenges with their students, who in turn bring this learning back to their homes and communities, and carry it forward into the next generation.

Switzer concluded his remarks with a challenge to the audience: “I ask you to go back to whatever you do and ask yourself: are the partnerships that we have, do the donations that we make and the community investments and the sponsorships that we give out—are they contributing to a restorative economy, of the management or solution of these issues?”

Switzer goes into greater detail on his call for accelerated sustainable resources leadership in his recently published post “Accelerating Sustainability – Beginning with a Focus on Building Trust”

About Nestlé Waters North America

Nestlé Waters North America provides people with an unrivaled portfolio of bottled waters for healthy hydration. Brands such as Nestlé Pure Life®, Poland Spring®, Perrier® and San Pellegrino® have driven Nestlé Waters North America to be the third largest non-alcoholic beverage company by volume in the U.S. Based in Stamford, Connecticut with 7,500 employees, Nestlé Waters is reducing its environmental footprint across operations. The company is also committed to creating shared value and being a good neighbor in the 140 communities where it operates in the U.S. and Canada.