Cainiao Network has teamed up with Nestlé to promote a greener supply chain for the leading Swiss food company’s operations across China.
Alibaba’s logistics arm said the cooperation is an ‘industry first’ when it comes to achieving sustainable end-to-end supply chain management, which will transform Nestlé’s operations from the production line all the way to warehousing, transfer, distribution and package recycling by end consumers.
Both companies have already started working last month on a recycling service on Cainiao’s app and its mini-programs on Alipay and WeChat.
Chinese consumers who purchase products from Nestlé’s premium coffee brand Sense Café, for instance, can use a new mobile feature to book a time slot for couriers to pick up the used packaging at their doorsteps for free, which will be delivered to the recycling sites.
The move comes as Alibaba steps its effort to reduce its carbon footprint, along with brand partners like Nestlé, with a shared goal of reaching net zero emissions.
With consumption reaching new levels in China, there is growing importance to “preempt the transition towards a greener supply chain, with concrete and step-changing sustainability actions,” said Tony Domingo, Nestlé’s senior vice president of supply chain and procurement in the Greater China region.
Other product lines have already expanded the use of eco-friendly packaging with Cainiao’s proprietary plastic-free boxes and biodegradable bags. Nestlé has also leveraged the company’s smart algorithms to forecast and assign custom-sized packaging across warehouses and sales channels to reduce unnecessary waste.
“By marrying technology innovation with logistics, we strive to foster a greener and more sustainable logistics ecosystem, and to become the partner of choice for leading consumer brands globally as they adopt green supply chain practices,” said Guo Yongshuai, who heads Cainiao’s Green Supply Chain division.
Going forward, Cainiao and Nestlé plan to explore more packaging designs, promote the use of reusable boxes and sustainable shipping crates, as well as work on campaigns to raise awareness of sustainability.
In 2016, the Alibaba logistics arm launched a project with other leading Chinese courier companies to promote the industry’s green transformation. Cainiao estimates 13,000 tonnes of carbon emissions reduced from its value chain during the 618 sale event because of its smart and green initiatives.