Environmental sustainability and water

To ensure we implement the Nestlé Policy on Environmental Sustainability, we have robust governance and management systems, policies and standards in place. These are regularly reviewed and verified by independent organisations to ensure they align with international and national regulations and guidelines.

Organisational structure


Our Nestlé Policy on Environmental Sustainability (pdf, 320Kb) covers our product life-cycle approach across six focus areas: water preservation; natural resources efficiency; biodiversity conservation; air emissions reduction; climate change adaptation; and zero waste.

In 2016, we updated the Nestlé Environmental Requirements.

The Operations Sustainability Council and the Nestlé Water Plan Steering Committee

The Nestlé Water Plan Steering Committee monitors water-related risks, challenges and opportunities monthly, with a view to shaping our water stewardship strategy, and updates the Operations Sustainability Council.

The Operations Sustainability Council and the Nestlé Water Plan Steering Committee inform the Nestlé in Society Board (chaired by the CEO), which has oversight of all CSV activities, including water. The NiS Board and Executive Board are both chaired by the CEO and, through these bodies, the Board of Directors are regularly briefed on water issues.

The Operations Water Task Force

Our Operations Water Task Force (OWTF) meets monthly to monitor the implementation of our commitments, ensuring we’re on track. It reviews progress by analysing performance data and identifying corrective actions across the organisation. The OWTF also monitors the need for potential changes, updates or additions to our commitments, by reviewing external inputs such as scientific developments and stakeholder feedback.

Corporate Operations Water Unit

The Corporate Operations Water Unit is a standalone unit that aims to give water higher visibility at a functional level, drive synergies across our different businesses and bring our Water Stewardship Master Plan to life, so that our actions mitigate any operational or reputational impacts.

Our policies and standards

The Nestlé Policy on Environmental Sustainability (pdf, 320Kb) contains our CEO’s commitment to environmentally sustainable business practices. It covers our product life-cycle approach across the Nestlé value chain – from farm to consumer and beyond. It identifies six focus areas: water preservation; natural resources efficiency; biodiversity conservation; air emissions reduction; climate change adaptation; and zero waste.

The policy incorporates the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) environmental principles, which state that businesses should: support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges; undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and encourage the development and diffusion of technologies with a better environmental performance.

The policy is complemented by more detailed commitments on key environmental issues, including:

In the Nestlé Commitment on Water Stewardship (pdf, 1.4Mb), we acknowledge our responsibilities as a major water user and our approach to water stewardship.

Our policies and standards ensure the respect of the human right to water and sanitation, as adopted by the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council. They are aligned to the external strategic framework of the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, the WBCSD WASH Pledge and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (pdf, 1.1Mb).

The Nestlé Environmental Management System

The Nestlé Policy on Environmental Sustainability (pdf, 320Kb) is implemented through the Nestlé Environmental Management System (NEMS). The system is designed to improve environmental performance, help ensure compliance with all relevant requirements and enable our sites to achieve ISO 14001:2004 certification. Management is accountable for its implementation within their area of responsibility.

ISO 14001:2004 certification

To ensure consistent and coherent implementation around the world, all our sites use NEMS, which conforms to ISO 14001:2004 – an internationally recognised standard for environmental management.

We aim to maintain ISO 14001:2004 certification at all our factories, and apply for certification through independent accredited bodies. We have extended our ISO 14001:2004 certifications to major distribution centres, R&D locations and offices and, by the end of 2016, 94% of our manufacturing sites were certified.

Monitoring and auditing

We monitor and report our environmental performance at a factory level using SHE-PM (Safety, Health and Environmental Sustainability – Performance Management) – see Definitions and Comments on Environmental Performance Indicators 2016 (pdf, 482Kb).

Our processes for reporting and managing incidents are set out in detail in NEMS. Any major incidents relating to safety, health or environmental sustainability are reported to the appropriate senior management within 24 hours. An investigation is initiated immediately and, in the case of major incidents involving our sites or employees, is overseen by the relevant senior functional manager.


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