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Taking a holistic approach to water management

Water ripple

 

As the climate changes and populations grow, the availability of clean, safe water is under threat. Water stress, where demand exceeds the amount of good quality water available, is also a growing problem.

Helping to protect the quality of natural waters and stewarding water resources is deeply connected to regeneration.

We rely on water throughout our agricultural supply chains and operations and recognize our role in helping to ensure access to sufficient clean water. We continue to reduce withdrawals in our factories, help farmers to introduce sustainable practices, and help enable access to safe water and sanitation in communities near our operations and supply chains. 

Nestlé Waters will advance the regeneration of the water cycle to help create a positive water impact everywhere it operates by 2025.

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Our approach to water management across Nestlé

Although water stress is a global issue, the impacts are felt locally by the communities and farmers who grow the ingredients we use in our products. As such, our approach to water stewardship must be local, or context-based, too. We use various sets of publicly available data from four independent sources to evaluate the water stress at our factory locations. Each of our sites receives a score, allowing us to identify a list of Where It Matters (WIM) locations to prioritize actions. 

Our context-based approach involves a three-step roadmap from local to wider catchment level: compliance as a minimum, then best practice in water resources management, and collective action.

Water stewardship across Nestlé

We aim to take a holistic approach to water stewardship that considers our operations, our bottled-water business, our agricultural supply chains and the communities affected throughout.

  • Factories
    We monitor water efficiency and the quality of the water we discharge.
    Water factory employee
  • Nestlé Waters Pledge
    We will advance the regeneration of water cycles to help create a positive water impact everywhere our water business operates.
    Water cylcles
  • Agriculture
    We promote and work with suppliers and farmers to implement better water management practices in water-stressed areas. This aims to protect watersheds and helps to go beyond the conservation of water sources to help regenerate and restore water cycles in the areas where we operate.
    Farmer walking through field
  • Communities
    We believe businesses have a role to play in helping people access safe water supplies.
    Children drinking out of water fountain
  • Partnerships and advocacy
    We work together with local and global stakeholders to address shared watershed challenges.
    Person sampling water

Expanding efforts beyond our own waters operations

Climate change, higher water consumption, growing urbanization and damaged infrastructure are some of the factors contributing to the deterioration of the natural water cycle. These trends are interfering with the predictability of precipitation and the availability of clean water. Additionally, rising temperatures and more extreme weather patterns are causing more flooding and droughts.

We are expanding our current efforts to manage water sustainably beyond our own waters operations and increase our collaboration with partners to identify and support local solutions.

Nespresso collaborates with local organizations in Brazil

Back in 2013 Nespresso began working with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Brazilian NGOs IPE (Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas) to launch the Cerrado Waters Consortium. One in every eight cups of coffee drunk in the world contains coffee from the Cerrado, and the area also provides water for about 40% of Brazil’s population. 

Yet water management has become a challenge. The area receives much rainfall during the winter, but very little during the summer dry season. Climate change is exacerbating these patterns. The Consortium is providing expertise and funding for initiatives such as tree planting and has helped bring the wider farming community together.

Worker in lab with water bottles

Local water stewardship in Egypt

To play our part in helping protect water supplies in Egypt’s Delta region, Nestlé Egypt has undertaken several projects, including rehabilitating a canal that provides irrigation for agricultural land around the village of Kafr Arbeen. 

We cleaned organic waste from the old canal, repoured the walls and floors with cement to stop leakage and improved the velocity of the water so it reaches as much agricultural land as possible. Now we are working with the local water authority to renovate the village’s water station and help provide residents with access to clean and safe water.

Child holding glass of water

Looking ahead

Our new strategic approach to water in agriculture aims to support our net zero ambition and related goal to source 50% of key ingredients through regenerative agricultural methods by 2030. The approach is based on two key areas:

1. Building on the foundations that have already been put in place. Our agronomists will continue to train farmers throughout our supply chains on good water management practices. We will also take action where we have identified watershed preservation actions that we can take together with farmers and local stakeholders. These largely target watersheds where our supply chain is exposed to higher water risks and will aim to both reduce farmers’ water use and increase water availability.

2. Regenerating local water cycles in direct proportion to our local agricultural water footprint. We will put programs in place to help maintain water use within the limits of what is naturally replenished, and achieve a positive water balance at the watershed level.

Creating Shared Value and Sustainability Report