Through our direct contact with more than 690,000 farmers and several million others in surrounding communities we’re committed to joining our efforts to develop good water management practices and find effective solutions at watershed level.
SAIN water projects
The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative at Nestlé (SAIN) is our initiative to support farmers and promote sustainable development worldwide. SAIN focuses on a broad range of commodities including milk, coffee and cocoa, and enables us to address some key challenges in water management and irrigation – such as farmer and crop resilience to drought and flooding; waste water and organic waste treatment; and farm intensification techniques.
- After the drought/flood events of 2008-10, Nestlé Australia, in partnership with the Australian Chapter of the Sustainable Agriculture Platform and the Birchip Cropping Group, set up a four-year Social Resilience Project to understand how wheat and sheep farm businesses in north-west Victoria respond to acute and long-term climate challenges.
- Using a ‘chemical oxygen demand’ reduction model, Nestlé Qingdao (China) treats about 700 litres of water daily at each fresh milk collection centre. The model will be gradually implemented at all milk collection centres in the region over the next few years, and a cold-climate model will also be developed.
- Nestlé Venezuela has launched an agro-forestry initiative within farms providing fresh milk for the El Piñal factory, which has positive impact on water, soil and ecosystem conservation. At farm level, initiatives are also deployed to minimise pollutant load from wastewater and valorise organic waste into a valuable resource (e.g. vermi-composting, biogas production). For 2012-2013, 30 such systems will be installed in different farms across the region.
- Nestlé Vietnam continues to jointly finance a three-year project with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and EDE Consulting, in the Dak Lak Province. By calculating the water footprint for robusta coffee and integrating it into our monitoring software, we aim to improve our understanding of how we currently use water and thus become more efficient in the future.
- Nestlé India’s chicory supplier, Vimsons Chicory Corporation, has installed a rainwater collection tank. The water collected is used for irrigation and has improved water availability.
- Nestlé Nicaragua has been working with farmers to protect local water resources. 128 milk producers have received training on the importance of protecting water springs.
- Nestlé India, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture of Gurdaspur and our rice flour supplier (Dada Cereals), evaluated the advantages of Systems of Rice Intensification (SRI) techniques, including their impact on irrigation water usage, over non-SRI techniques. The trials were carried out on 10 farms in Punjab, and results so far show that SRI techniques have reduced irrigation water usage by 20%, as compared to non-SRI methods.
Understanding water-stress in the sugar supply chain
We are gaining a better understanding of which of our supply chain partners are in water-stressed areas. Initially, we’ve focused on sugar suppliers in Brazil, India and Mexico. Implementation plans for the period 2012–2015 are being rolled out with the support of Proforest, our partner for the overall delivery of the plans. In 2013, we plan to roll out the guidelines to Australia, China, Thailand, and the UK.
Through our Responsible Sourcing Guidelines for Sugar, and Specific Requirements for Water Use in Agriculture (pdf, 372 Kb) (see also Other Commodities), mills and growers in water-stressed areas are expected to implement water management plans covering cultivation and processing that take into account the human right to water as well as environmental flows and water quality.
Helping the hospitality industry save water
Nestlé Professional launched a free, online water management course in 2012. Developed in association with the Food and Drink Federation, the course is designed to raise operators’ awareness of the value, use and management of water.
Water savings efforts beyond our direct operations
The consumptive water use related to the production at farm level of agricultural products purchased by Nestlé on an annual basis can be roughly estimated at 45 billion m3 including 42 billion m3 rainwater and 3 billion m3 irrigation water.
We continue to deploy a set of actions and initiatives to contribute towards improving water management within our supply chain (See Responsible Sourcing Guidelines) and the “farmer connect” network (See Rural Development).
We’re working with farmers and other suppliers to prioritise water efficiency through the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative at Nestlé (SAIN) and ran projects focused on water in several countries, including in Australia, China, India, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Vietnam. We’re identifying which of our supply chain partners operate in water-stressed areas so we can better focus our efforts. We’ve also incorporated water guidelines into our Responsible Sourcing Guidelines work, notably on sugar, but also on pulp and paper.