Caring for water
Water is the planet’s most precious resource: access to clean water is a fundamental human right and water is essential for our operations and supply chain. That’s why protecting and preserving the water resources we share with others is a major priority for us.
Creating shared value...
By protecting shared water resources today, we ensure their sustainability for future generations.
For our business
Protecting resources ensures the strength of our business for years to come.
Water security is a global issue, and we believe that collaboration is the key to protecting this shared resources for the future. In addition to improving water efficiency in our operations, we continue to work with a wide range of partners to protect water resources at a watershed level, support our suppliers and improve access to clean water and sanitation.
In 2018 we launched our Caring for Water global initiative to ensure we are a responsible and committed steward of water resources. Inspired by the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), the initiative guides our efforts and helps us to contribute to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) on water resource management and sanitation. The initiative allows us to play a key role in achieving our ambition of zero environmental impact in our operations.
Why it matters
We all need water to live. Water is also essential for growing the ingredients we source and for operating our factories. In addition, people need safe water to prepare or consume many of our products, from infant formula to coffee.
While water security is a global problem, the impact is felt locally. Global demand for water already exceeds supply but resources are not equally distributed across the planet. These pockets of water scarcity are due, in part, to population growth and urbanization driving up consumption in already water-stressed locations. They also contribute to the lack of clean drinking water and sanitation experienced by 40% of the world’s population (United Nations (pdf, 187Kb)).
To preserve shared water resources, collaboration is the only option. In addition to improving water efficiency in our factories, we work with a wide range of partners to protect water resources at watershed level, support suppliers to ensure we continue to source the ingredients we need, and work to improve access to clean water and sanitation in communities around the world. In recognition of our efforts in protecting and preserving water, we received a score of 100/100 in the Water-Related Risks section of the 2018 Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
Our Caring for Water initiative
In May 2018, we launched the Caring for Water flagship initiative, which will guide and focus our local efforts where and how they matter. The initiative will help us demonstrate our support and contribution to SDG 6 on water resource management and sanitation. It comprises a clear and common water stewardship approach at local level, inspired by the AWS, and enabling AWS certification of our operations. We are set up to support zones, markets and businesses to deploy and implement their Caring for Water plans and leverage them for greater impact in the future.
The ambition of our Caring for Water initiative, together we steward water resources for future generations, will play a key role in helping us achieve zero environmental impact in our operations.
In 2018, we conducted an impact valuation of our Caring for Water initiative, taking into account a range of factors such as the use of water in factories, our global water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project, and particularly water use in agriculture and our investments in catchment areas, as these are where the biggest potential for return on investments exists. We have a long way to go, and are in the process of refining measurement methodology and addressing data gaps in our work. In 2019, we’ll focus on understanding better the business value of the Caring for Water initiative.
Read more about the impact of this initiative on both our business and society.
Our playbook for protecting water
A guidance document, the Caring for Water playbook, will direct our specialists in the implementation of water stewardship initiatives, focusing on 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.
Our work on protect and preserve water contributes to SDGs 3, 6, 9, 12, 14 and 17.
Our material issues are those that have the most impact on the economy, society and the environment. See how we map our material issues to the UN SDGs (pdf, 600Kb)
Water is life, and we’re doing our part to protect this shared resource for the future.
See our commitments
Our achieved commitment
We achieved our commitment in 2017.
A new digital compliance assessment and monitoring tool now ensures all our plants meet the exacting standards of our Nestlé Environmental Requirements for water quality. Our work here will continue through the Caring for Water initiative. Read more