How is Nestlé SA Tackling Europe’s Youth Unemployment Problem?
Unemployment is a problem facing millions around the world, and in Europe finding employment is especially difficult for younger people. According to reports, unemployment for young people in Europe can reach up to 25 percent and many are worried about job prospects continuing to worsen in the future. To combat this issue, one of the region’s biggest businesses – food and beverage manufacturer Nestlé SA – is strengthening its own investment in training and job creation for young people in Europe and getting other major businesses on board.
“There’s a kind of vicious circle: you have markets with high unemployment, and then companies reduce investment there,” Nestlé Europe CEO Laurent Freixe tells Bloomberg Businessweek. “We want to create an environment where companies want to take the risk of giving someone a first job.”
Nestlé is attempting to create that environment with its European Youth Employment Initiative. The program promises several paths toward stimulating the job market, including:
- Counseling programs to help young people choose a career path and seek out the right education
- Apprenticeships and traineeships to help young people develop their marketable job skills
- The creation of new jobs within the company, encompassing a scope of opportunities from manufacturing to research and development, like the 450 new jobs developed this month at Nescafé’s Dolce Gusto capsule factory
The most recently unveiled aspect of the initiative is the Alliance for YOUth program which brings other global companies like Unilever and Cargill, as well as other businesses outside the food and beverage world such as Adecco and Facebook, to create new opportunities. This week, the Alliance announced a pledge to create more than 100,000 new jobs for young people throughout Europe.
“With more than 200 companies from all over Europe, the Alliance for YOUth is the first pan-European business-driven movement pledging to help young people be better prepared to enter the professional world and improve their chances in a challenging job market,” said Laurent Freixe, CEO Nestlé Europe, in a press release from the company.
Not only does this initiative benefit European youth – in the long run, it also benefits the companies involved. As the Wall Street Journal notes, sales slow when consumers are suffering through unemployment and can’t afford to spend as much money as usual. What’s more, the unemployment crisis could turn on its head in upcoming years as the Baby Boomer generation starts to retire en masse, creating a vacuum that can’t be easily filled by workers lacking training and experience. But by promoting employment opportunities and steady economic growth throughout the region now, businesses like Nestlé might be able to create regional growth while effectively promoting their own growth as well.
Tech firm BestBees helps honey bees with remote monitoring
The global honey industry was worth an estimated $9.2b in 2020. Out of the 100 crop species which feed 90% of the world's population, 70 of them are pollinated by bees. In addition, 1.4b farming jobs, depend on the pollination of crops carried out by bees.
Bees are vitally important to planet earth and everyone on it - but they are in danger. Between April 2019 and 2020, 43% of US hives were lost. Bee hives have been devastated by:
- Climate change
Tech firms have taken on one of the world’s oldest occupations, beekeeping, in order to maintain the welfare of the the mighty bumblebee.
Best Bees Company bumbles forward
US business, Best Bees Company, was shocked at the plight of the American bee colonies.
Best Bees install hives and then use an advanced software system to monitor and record the health of each bee hive.
"We are looking at why thriving beehives live", said Wilson-Rich, chief scientific officer at Best Bees. "We need to understand why they're doing better. With that research data we can get wonderful benefits... it is telling us how the bees are actually doing."
Best Bees also harvests and bottles the honey for the property owners, of where the hives sit, to enjoy.
The data is being shared with Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where researchers are trying to understand and assist the bees in their duty.
Tech saves beekeepers time and labour
The Irish business ApisProtect is also utilising technology to help the bees, through their wireless in-hive sensors, which transmit data.
"We collect temperature, humidity, sound and acceleration [of the bees flying out of the hive] data," said Fiona Edwards Murphy, chief executive "What we do is extract those raw data points and then use machine learning to convert that into useful information. We tell the beekeeper, for example, which hives are growing and which hives are shrinking, or which hives are alive and which hives are dead."
The technology means beekeepers no longer have to manually inspect hives, which saves time and effort and allows the bees to go about their business uninterrupted.
"In a commercial operation only about 20% of hives at any given time need intervention," concludes Edwards Murphy. "The problem is that beekeepers don't know which 20%. They literally go out and pick around a hive to see if it's the one they should be looking at. What we do is enable them to get a picture of what's happening in all their hives, spread across a large area, before they even leave their office in the morning. For commercial beekeepers, we see a 50% reduction in labour costs. That obviously has a huge impact on the business of beekeeping."