On August 27, Tim Brown, President and CEO, Nestlé Waters North America, was featured as a panelist at the 6th annual One Water Leadership (OWL) Summit in San Francisco. The event is attended by water leaders, sustainability directors, transportation, parks and recreation officials, as well as business leaders, non-profit organizations and U.S. EPA regulators, and fosters discussion on how to rethink and repair communities for water sustainability.
Tim’s panel explored the business case for the circular economy and discussed the strategies and solutions that help companies circulate water in closed loops by rethinking and redesigning business models, materials, products and systems. An example of this is Nestlé’s condensed milk factory in Modesto, CA.
Tim explained, "We're taking water extracted from the cow's milk and reusing it within the factory with no external withdrawals from the environment. It's saving 63 million gallons a year, and is costs saved.”
He went on to explain, “Creating closed loop systems gives us a leg up on the competition. The circular economy is ultimately going to be more efficient than the old economy. Adopting its principles earlier gives us a competitive advantage, especially as resources get scarcer.”
When asked if he had advice for another company as they consider their role to play in the circular economy, he said "I'll steal from Nike here: Just do it. You have to get in there and work it, use it, play with it, in order to learn how it works and how you can improve. I'll give the example of rPET [recycled PET plastic]: we could have waited for there to be a market, but we decided we had to create a market. It was a risk, but that risk helped establish a supply that we can build on, and it taught us lessons that we can use as we scale our use of that material. But none of that happens if you don't participate and behave in the circular economy, because then you learn lessons, make adjustments and continuously improve."
He concluded by saying that “the water cycle is the ultimate circular economy. It's been naturally recycling itself for billions of years! It is the best example we can look to as we aim to adopt and scale the circular economy."