Our commitment: Engage with suppliers, especially those in agriculture
By 2015 – Define and start to implement action plans to save water in our upstream supply chain for coffee, sugar, rice and cereals in high-priority locations.
Improving the water efficiency of our complex agricultural supply chain is one of our greatest challenges. Nestlé works directly with around 695 000 farmers and, through the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative at Nestlé, we promote sustainable development and offer support to farmers. The global programme focuses on a range of categories and enables us to address some key challenges in water management and irrigation, such as resilience to drought and flooding; wastewater and organic waste treatment; and farm intensification techniques. In 2014, we supported:
- an integrated water management project to develop a climate-intelligent coffee sector in Colombia;
- the application of the Water Footprint methodology in Colombia, to improve water use awareness, efficiency and water pollution control on dairy farms and at our factories;
- a water stewardship agriculture seminar in Spain; and
- new changes to irrigation methods and water management in Vietnam to produce more coffee beans with less water.
Water is a shared resource, impacted by all users in a catchment area. We believe that, sometimes, the greatest improvement to the health of a water catchment can be achieved when Nestlé invests resources in an external initiative rather than our own factory. We can achieve significant improvements in water use by introducing better agricultural techniques at a farm level, and these do not always require significant investment. We also believe there is an opportunity for businesses that purchase from large global suppliers to use their collective influence to demand better water efficiency, for example through the Sustainable Agricultural Initiative Platform. We will invest in external shared initiatives that help all catchment users to improve water efficiency.