June 22, 2010 / 1:37 PM / 10 years ago

Nutella chocolate maker Ferrero goes green

* Ferrero unveils environmental targets

* Says it aims to cut 17 pct of carbon emissions by 2013

* Focus on energy-efficiency, renewable sources

By Antonella Ciancio

MILAN, June 22 (Reuters) - Italian Nutella maker Ferrero is preparing for a green turnaround which includes a 17 percent carbon emissions cut in three years, in a forward-looking move for the media-shy family empire.

Michele Ferrero and his two sons, whose round Rocher chocolates are known worldwide, came out of the shadows last year when they eyed a bid for Cadbury CBRY.L, the world’s second-largest confectionery company.

They eventually pulled out of the sale and Kraft Foods Inc KFT.N bought the British company in an $18.4 billion takeover to create the world’s biggest confectionery group.

Even taking an interest in Cadbury was a big step for Ferrero, which in over 60 years has turned itself into a 6 billion euro ($8.05 billion) business without making an acquisition.

“The group is continuously involved in improving its industrial processes in order to make them more eco-friendly,” Ferrero said in a 100-page report unveiled on Tuesday.

Ferrero said it aimed at reducing energy consumption by 19-20 percent by 2013 compared to 2007 levels, while increasing high-efficiency energy by 50 percent.

It also plans to increase the use of recyclable materials in packaging by up to 10 percent and derive 20 percent of its own energy production from renewable sources.

The maker of Kinder chocolate eggs is one of the few Italian companies to report on corporate responsibility.

Over 80 percent of world’s 250 biggest companies disclose their performance on issues like the respect of human rights and the environment to improve their reputation and business conditions, according to auditing firm KPMG.

Ferrero, which employs more than 20,000 people, said some of its projects have already been put in place.

It said it has built a co-generation plant in the northwestern Italian town of Alba, where it has its home base, which also supplies power to more than 800 families.

The group, whose main market is Europe followed by America, Asia and Africa, said it reinvests part of resources to social initiatives in Cameroon, South Africa and India.

The group, run by the founder’s grandsons Pietro and Giovanni Ferrero, aims to have 100 percent of its cocoa and palm oil supply sustainable in the long term.

The group also said it does not source any palm oil from Indonesia, where extensive deforestation is taking place. (Reporting by Antonella Ciancio, Editing by Michael Shields)

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