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Managing Water

Addressing water issues at a global level: Agrivair employee Olivier Petitjean visiting farmers near Vittel, France, to discuss farming methods that avoid polluting ground water

Water is one of our Corporate Business Principles that form the foundation of all we do. The Principles state: “We are committed to the sustainable use of water and continuous improvement in water management. We recognise that the world faces a growing water challenge and that responsible management of the world’s resources by all water users is an absolute necessity”.

The water resources that supply our business operations, and support the livelihoods of suppliers and consumers, are integral to our long-term business success.

Our W.A.T.E.R commitments are as follows:

WWork to achieve water efficiency across our operations.
Leading in water resource management and excelling in the reduction of the direct water use in all our facilities.

AAdvocate for effective water policies and stewardship.
Promoting public policies that place value on water at every level.

TTreat effectively the water we discharge.
Setting strict targets for returning clean water to the environment.

EEngage with suppliers, especially those in agriculture.
Helping to improve their water management with focus on impacts at watershed level.

RRaise awareness of water access and conservation.
Engaging employees, communities and consumers in the water imperative.

This approach is outlined in our Commitment on Water Stewardship (pdf, 98 kb), which guides and aligns our efforts.

Water is also a focus area in the Nestlé Policy on Environmental Sustainability (pdf, 3 Mb).

  • We are a founding signatory of the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate, a unique private-public initiative in which approximately 87 companies, including us, are working with environmental organisations and other stakeholders to support water disclosure, public policy engagement and the human right to water. This report together with our 2012 Water CDP forms our 2012 Communication on Progress (COP) for the CEO Water Mandate.

  • Governance and oversight

    We have embedded responsibility for water into our business units, providing a solid cross-functional platform to manage water-related issues. Our Water Task Force, chaired by José Lopez, Executive Vice President of Operations, sets high-level strategy; while our Operations Water Task Force translates this into operational targets, objectives and KPIs – enabling us to face current and future challenges, and deliver competitive advantage through responsible water management.

    The Nestlé Water Task Force also coordinates our involvement in various collective initiatives, thereby putting into action our ambition to contribute to solutions to the global water crisis.

    Monitoring and audit

    We are developing a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that will underpin our qualitative W.A.T.E.R. commitments and enable systematic measurement of performance. This is work in progress and requires wide consultation across the business and with experts to define comprehensive, robust measures that we can use to track performance over the next five years and beyond. For example, in relation to engagement with suppliers, we are exploring KPIs to measure the number of responsible sourcing audits, farmer training and R&D initiatives.

    We will communicate these KPIs more widely in 2013, and we plan to hold an annual internal review to discuss progress on KPIs and shape our operational water strategy for the next five to ten years.

    We also recognise the need and the challenge to track performance in terms of resulting impacts at the watershed level, because this is the ultimate measure of progress towards meeting today’s global water challenges.