It’s Our Job to Save Water: Here’s How We Do It

Mar 22, 2016

‘Good Food, Good Life’ is the promise we make to billions of consumers around the world. 

To fulfil that promise we ensure that our products and services are high quality and safe.

We recognise too, our responsibility to ensure that we use water as efficiently as possible.

Globally, withdrawals by industry, by agriculture and by communities are set to exceed supply by 40% by 2030, according to the 2030 Water Resources Group.

As the world’s largest food and beverage company, we can make a significant contribution to helping address this problem, not just in our factories but in our supply chains and in our other facilities too.

Each innovation is a step towards a more sustainable future for our business and for the communities in which we operate, part of what we call Creating Shared Value.

We know it’s our job to save water.  Here are ways we’re doing this in Central and West Africa (CWAR).


1)     Reducing the water used by tonne of product.


We’ve reduced water consumption by 26% per tonne of product across our operations since 2010. One way we did this is by installing 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 saved us 100,000 m3 of water each year.


2)     Recycling or reusing water in our operations.


We installed an Ultra Filtration-Reverse Osmosis system at our Tema factory in Ghana to improve the quality of wastewater. The system also enables us to reuse 30% of effluent for non-core activities, reducing the total factory water consumption by 10%.


3)     Working with partners to promote water stewardship.


We’re working with local partners and non-governmental organizations, such as the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), by contributing funding and providing operational support and training to community water management schemes.


4)     Piloting new methods and technologies.


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. As a result, it ensures that only clean water is returned to the environment and produces minimal chemical oxygen demand.


5)    Helping farmers conserve water


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.


6)     Improving access to water and sanitation


As a signatory of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) pledge we’re making sure that every Nestlé employee has access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene of an appropriate standard in the workplace. We first used the self-assessment tool in 2014 at our factory in Douala, Cameroon. By the end of 2015, 95% of our sites in the region had completed WASH self-assessments. We aim to assess 100% of our sites in CWAR by early 2016.


7)     Educating the next generation


Local schools are benefiting from Nestlé Waters’ partnership with the Project WET Foundation in Nigeria to develop hydration-teaching modules, which looks to raise awareness about the importance of proper hydration for children. We’re also continuing to deliver healthy hydration modules through the Nestlé Healthy Kids programme in Ghana and Nigeria.


8)     Providing clean water and sanitation


More than 280,000 people in the cocoa-growing regions of Côte d’Ivoire now have better access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, thanks to our work with the IFRC.  We’ve been working with the IFRC since 2002 and renewed our partnership for five more years in 2014 to improve sustainable access to water, sanitation and hygiene services in cocoa-growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire and in Ghana.


More information about each of these examples can be found in the Nestlé in society: Creating Shared Value and meeting our commitments report 2016.