Using water sustainably in Central and West Africa: How we’re doing this

Aug 29, 2016

Using water sustainably in Central and West Africa: How we’re doing this

At Nestlé we aim to produce products and deliver services that are safe and high quality.

To do this, we have the responsibility to ensure that we use water as efficiently as possible in Central and West Africa and worldwide.

Water is critical to the sustainability of our value chain, and our consumers, employees and suppliers all need access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.

But millions of people still lack access to clean drinking water sources and improved sanitation facilities.

We continue to look for innovative ways to use water efficiently and don’t compromise the right to water of local communities. Our ongoing efforts highlight the importance of World Water Week this year from August 28-September 2, which aims to focus on water for sustainable growth.

As a company we focus on using water responsibly and encourage others to do the same. In 2013, we launched the Nestlé Commitment on Water Stewardship (English PDF) to guide our actions. Here is how we are doing this in Central and West Africa.

1) Work to achieve water efficiency across our operations

We’ve reduced water consumption by 26% per tonne of product at our sites in the region by managing initiatives such as the Water Resources Review (WRR) since 2009. We measure water availability, quality, regulatory compliance, site protection and stakeholder relations, and take action to close any identified gaps. We’ve also installed a connection between our food manufacturing facility in Agbara, Nigeria and the Nestlé Waters plant near the site, which enabled us to use surplus water from Nestlé Waters’ deep well at our other sites. This has saved us 100,000 m3 of water each year.

2) Advocate for effective water policies and stewardship

As a signatory of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) pledge we’re making sure that our employees have access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene of an appropriate standard in the workplace. In 2014, we first used this self-assessment tool at our factory in Douala, Cameroon. We are now on track to assess 100% of our facilities this year.

3) Treat the water we discharge effectively

We installed an innovative new system – the oxycon biological treatment and effluent polishing plant – at our Douala factory in Cameroon to filter wastewater from our operations. It ensures that only clean water is returned to the environment and produces minimal chemical oxygen demand. In Côte d’Ivoire, we’ve saved 6% of water by investing in a new evaporator at our coffee factory. We’ve also invested in an ultra filtration-reverse osmosis system at our Tema factory in Ghana to improve the quality of waste water and reduce our water consumption by 10%.

4) Engage with farmers on water management as part of coffee farming practices

We’ve included a module on water management in the 4C (Common Code for Coffee Community) training we give to farmers as part of the Nescafé Plan. It helps them avoid wasting water by monitoring how much they use, avoid polluting water by using local materials and simple techniques, and preserve water quality by urging them to protect natural water resources on farms.

5) Raise awareness of water access and conservation

More than 285,000 people in the cocoa-growing regions of Côte d’Ivoire now have better access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, after we teamed up with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in 2002. We renewed our partnership in 2014 and extended our work to Ghana. About 6,000 children in Nigeria also had access to clean water and sanitation in 2015 as part of our work with Project WET.

More information about our work on water can be found in the Nestlé CWAR – Nestlé in society report 2015 (English PDF)