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Nestle CEO breaks down his company's sustainability initiatives — 'one of our big themes is recycling'

Key Points
  • "One of our big themes is recycling. ... There's lots of uses where aluminum can have a useful second life for consumers and we have been a pioneer in recycling schemes for aluminum," Nestle CEO Mark Schneider says.
  • "We did not want to be a passenger to what the packaging industry is dishing up. We wanted to do our own thing," he says in an interview with CNBC's Jim Cramer.
  • The CEO details the food and drink processing giant's sustainability plans, including launching plant-based cuisines.
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Nestle CEO tells Jim Cramer his company's sustainability initiatives

Nestle has the wheels rolling on a number of sustainability initiatives with both the environment and health in mind, CEO Mark Schneider told CNBC on Tuesday.

The Switzerland-based food and drink processing conglomerate, the holding company of household names such as Kit Kat and Nesquik, is focused on creating packages and edible products that are more eco-friendly, he said in a one-on-one interview with "Mad Money's" Jim Cramer. One of those initiatives includes Nestle's plan to package its Nespresso coffee capsules with 100% aluminum, which Schneider explained could find a second life as an aluminum pen or bicycle.

"One of our big themes is recycling," he said when asked about the company's "Impact Per Share." In November, Nespresso announced that it would sell all of its coffee in aluminum capsules by 2020. "There's lots of uses where aluminum can have a useful second life for consumers and we have been a pioneer in recycling schemes for aluminum."

In its efforts to help U.S. consumers in their recycling habits, the company also provides a prepaid United Parcel Service bag when customers order the capsules, which can be easily sent off for recycling, Schneider added.

Nestle also launched its own Institute of Packaging Sciences late last year to develop packaging solutions that are tailored toward its recycling program, he explained. With the institute, the company plans to sell every one of its products in recyclable or reusable packages by 2025.

"We did not want to be a passenger to what the packaging industry is dishing up. We wanted to do our own thing," said Schneider who became the first outsider to lead Nestle in more than a century when he joined the food giant in 2017. "One thing we realized it's our name that's on the product, hence we want to be sure its packaging material that we fully endorse and that we can stand behind."

In terms of health, plant-based food has become a "major theme" for Nestle, the CEO said. That includes its meat and dairy products, such as ice cream and coffee creamers, he continued. Nestle sells the Incredible Burger in Europe, which can be found in German McDonald's restaurants, and plans to launch the Awesome Burger in the United States next month under its Sweet Earth brand. Nestle acquired the brand in 2017.

"That's a key theme because at the end of the day it usually has a better nutritional profile for consumers and it also has a better environmental foot print," Schneider said.

Under his tenure as CEO, Nestle's stock has gained nearly 50%. The shares climbed nearly 1% on Tuesday to close at $109.06.

WATCH: Cramer chats with Nestle CEO Mark Schneider

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Nestle CEO breaks down the company's sustainability initiatives — 'one of our big themes is recycling'

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