February 24, 2020

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In Conclusion: Nestlé Waters Wraps Up With a Conversation on the Privatization of Water

"We will continue to work on challenges and delivering where value can best be created for both society and shareholders."


By Heidi Paul

In my final post responding to the questions that came up during our recent Twitter Chat about Creating Shared Value or #SharedValue, I will address the following topics:

  • Privatization of water
  • Sustainability/Water as a vital resource

Privatization of Water

Along with the questions, it was exciting to see several of you participate with valuable comments and suggestions about water as a resource as well as debating how water should be best used.

For example, @solarmelissa said: "Water is necessary for survival, and @NestleWatersNA  has chosen to privatize it. What's next for consumers-- bottled air?" @foodandwater replied: "Recycling is great and has its place, but not commodifying water is the true solution" and @CleanWaterforNC added "Those who need safe water the most are also the ones least able to afford it."

NWNA uses water like most food and beverage businesses: as an ingredient and in our processes. 

The drinking and utility water sources we use can either be municipal, where we are a customer, or permitted wells on private land. When we buy water from public suppliers, we pay market rates established by the public water authority just like any other business customer.

For our spring waters, we pay for permitting and licensing fees, as well as the cost of infrastructure needed to serve our operations. Drop for drop, bottled spring water is one of the most efficient users of water in the beverage market.

Sustainability/Water as a Vital Resource

@SusanHeaney tweeted a good point on this issue, noting that the sustainability “issue [is] bigger than bottles. We waste so much water, especially in U.S. Water is seen as free commodity, not waterprecious resource.”

We agree, which is why at an operational level, we have a long history of reducing our water use where possible.

To @Francavilla, who asked how we are creating shared value when ground water is non-renewable, in fact, ground water is renewable when managed sustainably in the long term. This also goes back to a question from @LemonadebyLaura, who asked how we justify removal of water during droughts.

As I said during the chat, NWNA regularly monitors environmental conditions and precipitation patterns to manage its sources for long-term sustainability. Our geologists use that data to determine when and if it's necessary to modify water collection activities at any of our sites. Additionally, spring water for bottled water has an additional governor on its use that other groundwater users do not. 

To be labeled spring water, the spring has to have water emerging out of the ground, which is an indication that the water continues to be available.

Today, we manage 40 spring sites and spend millions of dollars each year maintaining them and more than 14,000 acres of watershed land as open space, helping to safeguard the local ecosystems.

To @Missangiemolina, who asked how are we addressing production with the depleting of water resources worldwide, Nestlé Waters only uses .0009 percent of the total fresh water withdrawn globally. We also only use water that is naturally replenished over the long-term.

Which brings me to a question from @egerdt: When are we going to see global agreements or policies relating resources like water?

On a global level, Nestlé SA is a founding member of the CEO Water Mandate, a United Nations Global Compact initiative with a focus on developing strategies and solutions to contribute positively to the international water agreementsemerging global water crisis, including disclosing water sustainability and management practices.

Nestlé also takes on global water issues through funding and operational support and training, helping communities better their water supply using their own resources.

On a local scale, NWNA collaborates with local governments and other stakeholders to advocate for comprehensive, science-based laws that seek to protect water resources. We have actively worked to support groundwater protection laws in Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, and the Great Lakes basin. For example, we supported Michigan House Bill 5067-5072 and Maine P.L. 2007, Chapter 399, both groundwater use laws that are critical for protecting groundwater sources in those areas. We will continue to work with stakeholders to pass fair groundwater protection legislation.

So, thank you once again to everyone who participated in the Twitter chat about our Creating Shared Value report.

As a natural resources company, CSV is our core business strategy and our business depends on our commitment to environmental stewardship. Water efficiency and sustainable water management practices are key to our long-term success. We believe transparency is critical to building trust, and producing a CSV report and participating in this Twitter chat are just two examples of the various ways we engage in dialogue with stakeholders.

NWNA will continue to work on its challenges and delivering where value can best be created for both society and shareholders. We hope you will continue to engage with us @NestleWatersNA.


Part II: Packaging, Waste & The Contest Between Bottled vs. Tap Water & Soda: Nestlé Waters Responds to Critics

Part I: Creating Shared Value through Transparency: Nestlé Waters North America Answers Its Stakeholders

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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