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Improving our environmental performance: our focus on water


At Nestlé, we act on climate change by further reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions along our value chain, in line with science-based targets. Reducing waste is a priority: we reuse and recycle wherever possible. We strengthen our supply chain by helping the farmers we work with to adopt sustainable practices. Water, identified as a CSV focus area, is also at the heart of our actions and we continue to reduce withdrawals of water per tonne of product and help increase access to safe water and sanitation.


Water is one of the areas next to nutrition and rural development, with greatest intersection between Nestlé’s business and society.

At Nestlé, we care for water and focus our efforts and resources in four key areas:

  • In our factories, continuously improving water use efficiency;
  • In watersheds, working with partners to protect shared water resources;
  • Across our agricultural supply chain, where water challenges are putting the sourcing of our raw materials at risk; and
  • In the communities where we are present, to widen access to clean water and sanitation.

We continue to invest in our factories to comply with local regulation and where it is imperative to decrease our water dependency. But to achieve sustainable water resources management, we also seek collaborative efforts outside our factory gates. This method has demonstrated a greater return on investment, for the resilience of our business and for the benefit of local stakeholders living in the catchments where we operate.

Our approach involves a three-step roadmap: compliance, excellence in water resources management and collective action (see below).

Water Stewardship Ladder

4.3 water stewardship ladder

Our approach is based on the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS)

The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) was launched in 2014 by industry leaders, public sector agencies, academic institutes, and prominent environmental conservation groups such as The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The AWS Standard is the first global water stewardship standard for measuring responsible water stewardship across social, environmental and economic criteria. AWS provides a globally-applicable framework that allows major water users to understand their water use and impacts, and to work collaboratively and transparently towards sustainable water management. The AWS Standard helps sites acquire best practices in order to address the shared water challenges of a watershed and ensure responsible water stewardship actions for all stakeholders.

AWS certification

The AWS certification process enables broader, improved collaboration among local stakeholders. It promotes responsible water use that benefits local communities socially and economically, while ensuring environmental sustainability of watersheds. Its leads to a stronger understanding of local water challenges and more meaningful collective actions to address them – all vital to sustainable water resource management.

We have already achieved a great deal but we are ready to do even more across all our operations.

Our Waters business first committed to the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard in 2017. In June 2018, the organization took another major step forward with the announcement that we will extend our commitment to water stewardship by certifying all our sites to the AWS Standard by 2025.

Nestlé Waters has committed to certifying 20 factories to the AWS Standard by 2020, with four factories already certified: one in Pakistan and three in California. In the Americas, water stewardship assessments have begun in all of our factories. And in Europe, Africa and Asia, water stewardship lighthouse projects are reference points for further action in markets faced by water challenges.

Benefits of AWS certification

Our commitment to the AWS and our teamwork are important catalysts to securing more sustainable access to water, replicating water efficiency innovations and engaging other water users in collective action to sustainably manage our shared water resources.

If we are to continue to grow sustainably, we must ensure we use the planet’s resources wisely. We want our products to not only be tastier and healthier but also better for the environment. Our 2030 ambition is to strive for zero environmental impact in our operations.

Read more about our efforts in water stewardship

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