Coffee out of politics

One of the largest players on the Russian food market, Nestle, in an atmosphere of general light tension associated with political upheavals, maintains respectable neutrality. The only guideline of the company, according to Mr. Patarnello, is consumer behavior, but they are not going to change their daily habits.

- Nestlé employees have repeatedly stated that Russia is a priority region for the development of the company. And on the territory of the Krasnodar region may appear your new production?
“First of all, we continue to invest in the already existing factory, the largest in Europe in the production of instant coffee, in technology upgrades, development of production facilities, and staff training. If new opportunities appear in the Krasnodar Territory, in other categories of production, they will, of course, be taken into consideration.

- Does Nestlé suggest the possibility of buying assets in the Krasnodar Territory?
- In the past, the company has already made several large acquisitions in various cities of Russia. I can not say that now in our field of view there are any assets that we plan to acquire. Nevertheless, we regularly monitor, and if some interesting production is noticed, we will consider the possibility of buying it. In general, it is possible for us both to master the production facilities that are in varying degrees, and to build enterprises from scratch. It depends on situation. For example, in Samara we acquired operating production facilities, a factory was built in Vyazniki by us, in Timashevsk the company was aimed at acquiring land for the construction of a new factory.

- According to the leadership of the Russian division of Nestlé, what qualities does Krasnodar Krai differ as a platform for business?
- First of all, in terms of geography, the region has a very convenient location for our business, because we import coffee beans from abroad.
Over the years of the factory’s existence, we have managed to build a full-fledged business environment around it. Today, the factory is one of the largest employers in the region, a mutually beneficial dialogue with local authorities has been established, which allows you to continue investing in this site.
In my opinion, the fact that investing in such a large project is not just an investment in equipment and technology is of paramount importance. This is much more than cars - this is a kind of development, an upgrade of the region, we help to stimulate a large number of related business sectors.

- How would you rate the position of the Nestle Kuban factory among other enterprises of the company in Russia?
- It is difficult to distinguish this production among others. Nestlé has been represented here for many years, but the same applies to many other factories in other parts of the country. But, of course, the position of the factory as the largest in Europe and one of the largest in the world leaves a definite imprint. In addition, it is the first Nestlé factory in Russia, built from scratch. But the company's policy applies to all production, the requirements are the same for all.

- When the factory in Timashevsk just appeared, the city took it in two ways. On the one hand, jobs with a competitive salary and contributions to the budget, on the other - the painful issue of environmental impact, which was quite noticeable at that time. Tell me, is this a typical situation for new industries?
- Local residents are enthusiastically launching each new factory, because this is an opportunity to work in a modern enterprise and get a decent salary. However, they inevitably express concern about any new production capacity that naturally has an impact on the environment.
But today we are absolutely sure that the ecology of the city is protected. Standards of such protection are the same for all enterprises of the company and concern the economical use of water and electricity, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

- What measures can be used to reduce the impact of production on the environment, to ensure labor safety?
- Today we are reducing water consumption. As for reducing electricity consumption, there is a definite plan, and from year to year we move along it towards more and more savings. I must note that labor safety remains a priority for us. Every year we invest significant sums in improving working conditions. Plus to this - training, which allows management to be sure that employees in their places comply with safety requirements. We keep records not only of accidents, but also of situations that posed a potential hazard, but were noticed and eliminated in time.

- What production changes are planned for Nestle Kuban in the coming years?
- Coffee production technology is constantly changing. From the very beginning, Nestle Kuban produced coffee using spray-drying technology, then freeze-drying was introduced.
The next step will be the use of technology that allows you to create a mix of instant coffee and ground coffee particles. This is a serious, large-scale development. At the same time, production will not require expansion of staff, changes will be carried out at the level of technology. In connection with the launch of the updated brand, we expect an increase in sales, so the load on production lines will increase, but this will also not lead to a change in the number of jobs.

- Is it possible for Nestlé to use innovations from below - coming from local employees?
- It is clear that global technologies are dictated by a single research center. But along with them are used auxiliary - relating, for example, to energy conservation. In addition, each factory, and in particular Nestle Kuban, which has existed since 2005, has expert knowledge of the staff who help solve technical issues, implement improvements related to the production process, on-site, and accordingly make local proposals.

- You have experience in managing divisions of the company in Russia and Ukraine. What are the differences in business approaches in the two countries?
- We do business all over the world. And above all, in accordance with the Nestlé culture and Nestlé standards. And in this sense, there are no differences between countries. Attitudes toward employees do not change, the standards that are used in the construction of factories are the same; we negotiate with our contractors in the same vein. The only difference is consumers. For example, in Ukraine there are some categories of products that are not in Russia. There are differences in taste features of products. This is an advantage of a company that strives for success in different countries: to work in accordance with international standards, but at the same time take into account the peculiarities of tastes and preferences of consumers from different regions, analyze their unique features.

- In your opinion, should business be separated from politics?
“First of all, we should not forget about our role as a food company. I believe that consumers should not become hostages of the political situation, especially when it comes to the work of such a major player as Nestlé - companies with a long history.

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