How Climate Change is Affecting the World’s Biggest Food Company

Sep 5, 2014 10:15 AM ET

This article originally appeared on The Washington Post

By Roberto A. Ferdman

Food is a necessity, but it's also a big business.

That duality has often pitted consumers against the powerful food corporations that farm, produce, and ultimately feed large swaths of the global population, especially on questions of health and sustainability. But with national diets in this country leading to obesity and diabetes epidemics and global issues around poverty, food waste and climate change, consumers and producers are having new discussions about their relationship to one another.

Few, if any, companies will play as central a role in these issues as Nestlé S.A., the world's largest food and beverage company, which makes everything from chocolate (Crunch, Toll House, and Butterfinger) and coffee (Nespresso), to baby food (Gerber), pizza (DiGiorno), milk (Skinny Cow), ice cream (Haagen-Dazs), and packaged meals (Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine).

I sat down with Nestle S.A.'s vice president and global head of operations José Lopez, who's also often described as the company's head of sustainability, even though the company doesn't technically have someone with that title. We discussed how climate change is affecting the company, how the company is working to affect climate change, what sustainability means in the corporate food world, and the company's responsibility to the people who eat its food, especially given its size.

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