Improving water efficiency at La Penilla

Location: Spain

Impact Area

  • Nutrition
  • Water
  • Rural Development
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Compliance
  • Community engagement
  • Gender balance & diversity
Sep 1, 2013, updated September 2013

Improving water efficiency at La Penilla
Saving water:We rely on factory teams worldwide to help us improve our environmental performance and meet our CSV commitments.

Nestlé’s confectionery factory at La Penilla in northern Spain draws its water from the nearby river Pisueña. As part of our commitment to water stewardship, we have invested CHF 1.2 million (EUR 1 million) and reduced water use per tonne of product by 60% in less than 12 months. It has been achieved without increasing energy consumption at the factory or greenhouse gas emissions.

Programme description

The project began in 2011, when our factory manager brought together a multidisciplinary team of employees to identify opportunities for reducing water use. Since then, we have modified the regulation of water flow through our milk evaporators and it now uses 1 million m3 less water every year, the equivalent of 400 Olympic swimming pools. The factory has installed three new cooling towers with a more efficient closed refrigeration loop system that recycles water, which delivered a 25% reduction in water use during the first half of 2013.

Value to Society

The project has also improved awareness of the benefits of water stewardship among our employees, creating positive behavioural change for the long term.

Value to Nestlé

We have achieved substantial improvements in water efficiency in recent years, against many competing priorities, and will continue to do so. Despite a steady increase in our manufacturing production over the past 10 years, we’ve steadily decreased our water use. In 2013, we implemented 171 programmes in our factories to reduce and reuse water sources, which have saved 3.6 million m3 of water. We have reduced direct water withdrawals in every product category and achieved an overall reduction per tonne of product of 33.3% since 2005. We want to go further and have targeted a 40% reduction of direct water withdrawals by 2015.

Next Steps

Looking ahead to 2014, we expect to make further water savings by replacing warehouse chillers with an ammonia central refrigeration system.