Nestlé: Assessing Facility Impacts and Risks
As the world’s largest food company, Nestlé has an extensive multinational manufacturing base that used 144 million m3 of water in 2010. To assess water risks across its 450 global facilities, the company relies on a set of analytical tools to help local managers understand both their own water use and how local demographic trends and physical conditions might affect the water resources it relies on to make its products.
Nestlé has aggregated third-party geo-spatial data into a customized water risk map. The map allows the company to determine which of its sites are in areas where water resources are already under stress and competition for water is severe, as well as areas where such conditions are likely to worsen.
Nestlé pairs this global water risk map with information gathered by the company’s Water Resources Review (WRR) program to determine the sustainability of water management practices in a given site’s watershed. The WRR takes into account both internal and external factors, focusing on water quantity, water quality, regulatory compliance, site protection and stakeholder relationships. The program also covers the impacts of Nestlé’s direct operations and indirect impacts related to transportation (e.g., pipelines and storage tanks), water treatment, and wastewater processes. So far, the WRR has been deployed at 88 of the company’s bottled water sites and is now being rolled out at the company’s food-processing factories.
The combination of external data and Nestlé’s internal WRR process has enabled the company to identify risks and key issues in water resources at the local level, resulting in targeted action plans to ensure each facility’s sustainable water use. The results of these efforts have been consistent reductions in water withdrawals over the past decade; since 2000, Nestlé has reduced water withdrawals by 32% even while production volume grew 73%. The company hopes to reduce water consumption by another 10-15% over the next five years.