Nestlé focuses on water quality during World Water Week

Sep 6, 2010
MANAGING WATER IN COMMUNITIES: Nestlé's partnership with the International Water Management Institute is helping to map water use in the Punjab region.

Nestlé today joins leading ministers and environmental figures to discuss the challenges of sustaining water quality at the World Water Week event in Stockholm, Sweden.

José Lopez, Executive Vice President for Nestlé, heading Operations and GLOBE, takes part in the High Level Panel discussion to analyse issues such as the effects of poor water quality, pollution implications and the impact of climate change.

Mr Lopez is joined by Hon. Charity Kaluki Ngilu, Minister of Water in Kenya, Hon. Sandra Bessudo, Minister of Environment in Colombia, Dr Rita Colwell, Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, Ravi Singh, CEO for the WWF India and Björn Stigson, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

Hosted and organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), World Water Week – which takes place from September 5-11 – acts as the annual focal point for the planet’s most urgent water-related issues. The event has been running since 1991. Aiming to provide a unique forum for experts, practitioners, decision-makers and leaders from around the globe to exchange ideas, foster new thinking and develop solutions, the theme for this year is The Water Quality Challenge.

At the event, Nestlé will also speak in the' Charting our Water Future: Pathways and Tools to Reform' seminar, led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC)/McKinsey, on Wednesday, September 8. On Thursday, September 9, Nestlé will speak at the Water Footprint Network Partner Forum. On the same day, the Company will participate in the CEO Water Mandate Update and Feedback session and other seminars during the week-long event.

In addition, Michael Roberts, International Development Enterprises (IDE) Cambodia Country Director – winner of the first Nestlé Prize in Creating Shared Value (CSV) in May 2010 – will be at the Nestlé stand today and tomorrow, to talk about how IDE uses water as an effective and strategic entry point in its programmes to address rural poverty. IDE won the Nestlé Prize for its rural development project which aims to increase the standard of living of Cambodian rural population by improving agricultural productivity and income.

graph REDUCTION OF WATER CONSUMPTION: Over the past decade, Nestlé has decreased its water usage by 33%.

In illustrating its reduction of water consumption over the past decade, Nestlé has decreased its water usage by 33%, but increased its food and beverage production volume by 63%, or a reduction of 59% per kilo of product. In the same time period, the Company has cut the quantity of water discharged from its factories into the ecosystem – after treatment and removal of pollutants – by 42%, or 65% per kilo of product.

By setting its sights on reducing consumption on a comparable basis by a further 10-15% over the next five years, Nestlé has continued to roll out a number of water-saving projects and initiatives to combat water usage.

In the Indian town of Moga, Nestlé led a study to identify key areas to improve water management in agriculture. The six month pilot project completed in May 2010 – in alliance with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) – focused on the water footprint of milk and other local crops in the Moga Punjab region in India.

Due to local over-exploitation by agriculture, industry and domestic use, the study showed that the local water table dropped by up to a metre a year, potentially affecting the supply of milk in the Moga milk district from which Nestlé buys 1.25 million litres a day from 100,000 farmers.

Measures already in place to curb the water wastage include the recent Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act, which promotes water conservation by delaying rice paddy transplantation, changing crop rotation patterns and encouraging less water-intensive crop species.

And in continuing its drive to increase clean water in communities, Nestlé has teamed up with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) Societies in Côte d’Ivoire, which already benefits around 10,000 villagers in cocoa growing areas.

Projects include the rehabilitation of 10 deep well school water pumps and 25 school toilets, 30 school teachers were educated in Children's Hygiene and Sanitation Training (CHAST) and 10 school hygiene clubs were set up for pupils.

In addition, nine community water and sanitation committees composed of 70 volunteers were set up for hygiene promotion in the villages. In addition, Nestlé has also ramped up its involvement with external bodies to spotlight its on-going leadership on water awareness.

World leading water experts discussed water and sustainability at Nestlé's annual Creating Shared Value Forum in May 2010; while in 2009, Nestlé led a joint project with the IFC, McKinsey and several other companies, to produce the “Charting our Water Future: a new economic framework to decision making” report.

Finally, Nestlé is part of the process to establish an ISO Water Footprint standard, is a regular first partner of the Water Footprint Network and participates in a Water Footprint Consortium of Swiss companies in Colombia, initiated by the Swiss Development Agency (SDC).