Nestlé celebrates 20 years of community partnership to protect water sources in France

Sep 21, 2012
Vosges region, France NATURAL BALANCE: The initiative has helped improve the quality of soil in the Vosges region.

Nestlé Waters is celebrating 20 years of a successful environmental initiative to protect the natural sources of three of its most popular mineral water brands in France.

The company helped to set up the ‘Agrivair’ project to preserve the quality of the Vittel, Contrex and Hépar springs in the Vosges water basin in the north east of the country.

The initiative, which covers 10,000 hectares of land, has helped to improve the quality of soil in the region while protecting its biodiversity since 1992.

Clean water, healthy soil

“Over the past two decades Nestlé Waters has worked with local stakeholders including farmers, businesses, residents, and gardeners to help balance the economic growth of the Vosges region with the protection of its water resources,” said John Harris, Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Waters.

“By involving experts and the local community in this way, the Agrivair initiative has become a unique model for collaborative sustainable development.”

“By involving experts and the local community in this way, the Agrivair initiative has become a unique model for collaborative sustainable development.” John Harris, Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Waters.

Sustainable farming

Nestlé Waters has helped to train farmers in the region in alternative agricultural practices, such as stopping the use of chemical pesticides.

Other measures include limiting the number of cattle to one cow per hectare of land, composting animal waste, ensuring farm buildings are compliant with environmental standards, and rotating crops.

Farmers have also been encouraged to replace maize crops with alfalfa, a more ecological plant whose roots trap harmful nitrates that can contaminate soil and water.

Preserving biodiversity

The Agrivair initiative’s efforts to restore biodiversity in the Vosges region have in turn contributed to preserving the quality of the springs.

Perches and nesting boxes have been introduced for birds and bats, allowing natural predators to protect crops from pests instead of chemical treatments.

Hedgerows have also been planted in agricultural areas to act as protective barriers, shielding orchards from strong winds or frost and providing shelter for animals and insects.

Logo celebrating 20 years of Agrivair COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS: Vittel is supporting a number of other conservation projects in 2013.

The Vittel brand received special recognition for these efforts at the annual award ceremony of the non-profit organisation ‘Entreprises & Environnement’ in 2010. The brand was awarded for ‘Best Site Management’ in the Biodiversity and Company category, for its policy of water preservation around natural springs.

Educational garden

Members of the public can find out more about the benefits of these natural agricultural practices at a series of educational gardens near the town of Vittel.

The Agrivair initiative is a main partner of ‘Jardins de la Terre’, which attracts hundreds of visitors every year.

People can take part in an educational trail to find out how flowers, fruits and vegetables can be cultivated without chemicals or fertilisers.

Conserving habitats

As part of the Agrivair initiative in 2013, Nestlé Waters will support a project to re-establish natural habitats along a two kilometre stretch of the river Vittel.

The project, which aims to restore an area of the river damaged by repeated development, is the first of its kind in France.

The company’s Vittel brand will also be supporting a tree local planting programme in the Vittel Region in collaboration with the ‘Pur Projet’ reforestation and conservation initiative.

Related information:
Nestlé Waters France

Read more stories about Nestlé Waters:
World Water Day: Nestlé’s efforts on water
Nestlé Waters’ refreshing campaign for healthier habits in the United States
Nestlé celebrates World Water Day with children from 25 different countries

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