Mar 31, 2014, updated March 2014
Over the past four years, we have helped to test the draft international standard for water footprinting, ISO 14046 Water Footprint – Principles, requirements and guidelines, in Colombia. Run by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the SuizAgua Colombia project is a public–private initiative which has brought together Nestlé, Clariant, Holcim, Syngenta and seven Colombian companies. Participants have used the draft of ISO 14046 to estimate the water footprint of individual companies or their products, while seeking new opportunities to improve water management and improve impacts from direct and indirect use of water (supply chain).
Nestlé has estimated the water footprint for one ton of dairy product (powdered milk, milk cream and condensed milk), produced at our Florencia and Bugalagrande sites. Each life cycle stage was analysed, from the dairy farms in Caquetá through to the point when products leave our factory gates. Along with other companies taking part, we found the majority of water-use impacts come from the supply chain or through energy consumption. The results show that, in 2012, our blue water footprint (consumed water) was about 46 m3 per ton of dairy product, where 58% is related to the dairy farms and 35% to electricity and fuel consumption in the plants.
In Nestlé Colombia, actions have been taken, such as: water springs protection and waste management within 95 dairy farms; leak controls, installation of steam recycling system and standardised practices for production stoppage and cleaning periods in our plants. As a result, at our Florencia plant from 2009 to 2013, the water extracted per ton of dairy product was reduced by 44% (from 4.9 m3 per ton to 2.7 m3 per ton). During the same period, electricity consumption per ton of product also decreased by 35% (from 96 kWh to 62 kWh per ton of product.
Value to Society
Through this partnership, we are improving our technical knowledge about water footprinting, as well as promoting better water management. We are also highlighting water value through community projects, and innovative communication events. The motivating results have enabled the project to scale up within Colombia and now in Chile and Peru. In Colombia, a promising geographic application of the water footprint for the Porce River watershed is taking place, in partnership with the Centre for Science and Technology of Antioquia.
Value to Nestlé