MILAN – In March 2020, when Trinidad and Tobago’s unprecedented Covid 19 lockdown measures were put in place, Nestlé Trinidad and Tobago Limited moved swiftly to implement its strategic Pandemic Plan. While some businesses were mandated to shut down entirely, this was not an option for Nestlé. As one of the country’s leading food and beverage manufacturing companies, the company was considered an essential business.
Throughout 2020, despite unprecedented challenges, Nestlé has been able to maintain continuity of operations — production has continued smoothly, and focused management of the company’s supply chain has ensured undisrupted product availability to retail partners and consumers. At the same time, the health and wellbeing of employees has been paramount for Nestlé, particularly because its essential frontline workers are required to be physically present at the Valsayn factory.
And now, this flexibility, business continuity and focus on the wellbeing of our employees and the wider community has won Nestlé the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association’s newest Award for 2020, the Pivot Award for Best Adaptation to the New Normal
According to the TTMA, “The COVID-19 Award aims to recognise businesses that have successfully managed their responses to interruptions caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic and have revised and updated their business continuity plans to ensure their operational resiliency.”
In making the Award to Nestlé, the TTMA considered the company’s implementation of Health and Safety measures, its treatment of staff and its commitment to a Corporate Social Responsibility programme in the context of the pandemic.
Accepting the Award on behalf of the Nestlé team, Market Head of the Anglo-Dutch Caribbean Region, Patricio Torres said, “Our focus was ensuring that our employees were safe, felt safe and knew that they were secure and valued during a difficult time. This was an imperative for us. Our staff and their families took precedence from day one.”
Along with remote-work systems for non-essential employees, Nestlé was quick to implement all standard safety and hygiene protocols for Covid 19, including temperature screening, frequent and strict sanitization, mandatory mask wearing and social distancing. But Nestlé went a step further with a private shuttle service, company-funded meals and meal allowances for essential employees, free virtual medical consultations and a Rapid Testing Service onsite for all employees.
Nestlé also mobilised substantial relief efforts throughout communities in Trinidad and Tobago. The company donated $525,000 to the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society and provided more than $75,000 in product donations for the Couva and Caura Hospitals. Nestlé also donated more than $80,000 in product to the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Social Development and Family Services for society’s vulnerable, provided 45,000 surgical masks to the Ministry of Health for frontline workers, and donated products to more than 50 charitable organizations and NGOs across the country.
In the midst of all this, Nestlé maintained its operational resilience. Covid 19 brought very special challenges and Nestlé had to find innovative measures to rebalance its supply chain. In the face of unique changes in consumer behaviour, including panic buying, restricted shopping hours and a higher dependency on local versus imported products, Nestlé has successfully maintained consistent and reliable supply to its retail partners, ensuring that its entire portfolio of products remains readily within reach of the consumer.
“Nestlé has an essential role to play during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis,” says Mr. Torres, “Our food and beverages help keep people healthy and enhance their quality of life. We care about our responsibility to provide good nutrition, including for the most vulnerable in society. In 2020, among many challenges, we are most proud of the many ways in which our employees demonstrated their individual and collective strength and commitment to our purpose, working tirelessly to ensure that we continue to unlock the power of food today and for generations to come.”