Protecting Water Our Greatest Resource

Aug 25, 2015

To mark World Water Week - 'Water for Development' - take a look at what we're doing around the world to save water and improve access to safe and clean supplies.

Improving the efficiency of our water use

We are constantly looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle water in our operations. Using new technology, our 'zero water' factory in Mexico extracts all the water it needs from milk and does not use any freshwater resources for its operations. It does this by reusing the waste water extracted from fresh milk when it is dehydrated to make milk powder products. Work is also underway to transform our milk factory in California into a 'zero water' factory.


Treating the water we discharge

To help protect the environment, we are treating the wastewater in our factories to ensure that it is fit for reuse or for discharge back into the environment. We have committed to spend CHF 18 million on new and improved treatment facilities and have strengthened our water quality requirements for new effluent treatment installations.



Engaging with suppliers on sustainable water use

Because agriculture uses roughly 70% of the planet's accessible freshwater, we promote sustainable development among the 700,000 farmers we directly work with and offer them support in addressing key challenges in water management and irrigation. This includes resilience to drought and flooding, wastewater and organic waste treatment, and techniques to increase production.

Advocating for effective water policies and stewardship

Currently, 38% of our factories are located in water-stressed regions. This makes responsible water stewardship a critical issue for our business and our stakeholders. Our aim is to promote water policy and management to help all stakeholders across the world use water sustainably. Learn more about our commitments as a responsible water steward:

Improving rural communities' access to water

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Nestlé have been working together to improve rural communities' access to water since 2007. Today, this collaboration has helped almost 60,000 people in Côte d'Ivoire's cocoa communities' access water.


Improving access to clean drinking water

Because millions of people lack access to safe water in South Asia, Nestlé has constructed facilities to provide clean drinking water to people in schools, hospitals and places of worship. The units are built by drilling bore wells or using existing deep wells, and installing water pumps, filters and storage tanks.


Raising awareness on water conservation

In the South Asian schools where we have constructed clean drinking water facilities, we educate children about sustainable water management and raise awareness about water conservation. Nestlé Waters' global water education programme, Project WET, also teaches children about the water cycle, its role in the balance of our planet, and the importance of hydration for a healthy body.

Increasing access to basic sanitation

To help provide access to basic sanitation and raise awareness about hygiene, Nestlé has helped establish more than 80 community water and sanitation committees and 68 school hygiene clubs in Côte d'Ivoire. Committee members are trained to promote hygiene best practice in their local area and the International Federation of Red Cross conducts surveys to assess the effectiveness of sanitation education in the school hygiene clubs.

Supporting sustainable development

Through the Nestlé Creating Shared Value prize, we assist sustainable development projects via financial support and technical expertise. Last year's runner-up was MSABI, a not-for-profit organization, which runs one of the largest rural water, sanitation and hygiene programmes in Tanzania. Our support will help increase the reach, scale and capabilities of their programme in Tanzania, where only 47% of the rural population have access to safe water and only 15% have access to improved sanitation.