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Improving water efficiency

Our aim is to use as little water as possible, and to use that responsibly.

Our commitment

Work to achieve water efficiency and sustainability across our operations

Why it matters

Water is vital to Nestlé: for growing ingredients, for our production processes and for preparing our products. We must therefore use water as efficiently as possible in our operations – especially with around one in three of our facilities located in a water-stressed area. We are pleased to have made significant progress in recent years, but remain committed to doing more.

Our approach

We’re transforming how we use water by reducing withdrawal, carrying out Water Resource Reviews and implementing stewardship initiatives. In the past year, we’ve made progress, and we’re now quite close to reaching our commitment.

What we are doing

Year on year, we’re finding new ways to use less water.

By 2020

Reduce direct water withdrawals per tonne of product in every product category to achieve an overall reduction of 35% since 2010.

Our result: 29.6% reduction in direct water withdrawals per tonne of product across every category since 2010.

By 2020

Carry out 40 new Water Resource Reviews (WRRs) in selected manufacturing facilities and all greenfield sites.

Our result: 11 new WRRs conducted in 2018. Cumulative of 26 WRRs at the end of 2018.

By 2020

Implement 10 new water stewardship initiatives in selected locations, with specific focus on high-priority manufacturing facilities.

Our result: 14 AWS-certified factories have water stewardship plans.

How we launched a ‘zero water’ facility in a severely water-stressed area

We have a dairy-manufacturing facility in Mossel Bay, a town in South Africa’s Western Cape that experiences regular droughts, including one so severe that the region was designated a disaster area in 2012. To support the town, we embarked on a project to recover water from the milk evaporation process and turn the facility into a ‘zero water’ manufacturing site.

The project involved the use, for the first time by Nestlé, of an anaerobic membrane bioreactor, which recovers both energy (as biogas) and water from effluent. As a result of the project, the factory has reduced its water consumption by 65% since 2009. South African Minister of Water and Sanitation Gugile Nkwinti inaugurated the transformed site, and Nestlé South Africa’s chairman and managing director Rémy Ejel stated that it would “have a positive impact on the treatment, recycling, conservation and water use efficiencies in our Mossel Bay factory.”

Water withdrawals at our factories by product category (m3 per tonne of product)

Category 2010 2018 % reduction since 2010
Milk products and ice cream 5.5 3.6 34
Confectionery 7.2 3.2 55
Nutrition and healthcare 13.6 9.4 31
PetCare 1.2 1.1 10
Powdered and liquid beverages 13.9 6.1 56
Prepared dishes and cooking aids 5.5 3.7 32


Find out more

CSV - Linkbox - Striving for zero environmental impact
CSV - Linkbox - Striving for zero environmental impact

How we're striving for zero

Our 2030 ambition is to strive for zero environmental impact in our operations.

CSV - Linkbox - Caring for water
CSV - Linkbox - Caring for water

Caring for water

We’re dedicated to protecting water sources.

CSV - Linkbox - Acting on climate
CSV - Linkbox - Acting on climate

Acting on climate change

Climate change is a global challenge, and we’re committed to doing our bit.

CSV - Linkbox - Safeguarding the environment
CSV - Linkbox - Safeguarding the environment

Safeguarding the environment

We can use resources more efficiently, reduce food waste and help consumers play their part.


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