Nestlé’s Wyeth Nutrition facility is Ireland’s first factory to achieve platinum cert for water stewardship
9 February 2021
Nestlé’s Wyeth Nutrition facility in Askeaton, Co. Limerick is the first factory in Ireland to achieve the prestigious Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard Platinum Certification, in recognition of its water stewardship initiatives.
The Platinum standard is provided where it has been proven that responsible water policies and initiatives, which lead to water preservation and reduction, are at a highest standard possible, and there is demonstrable engagement with stakeholders in the local catchment area. The Platinum Certification was awarded to Wyeth Nutritional Ireland Ltd after a rigorous independent assessment, which showed water stewardship throughout the factory being undertaken by its management and staff.
The AWS Standard is the global standard for measuring responsible water stewardship across social, cultural, environmental, and economic criteria, with the Platinum rating being the highest level of certification available.
Antonio Prochilo, factory manager, says that the team placed significant focus to improve water sustainability on site as part of Nestlé’s wider global prioritisation of water sustainability.
“Fresh, clean water is essential for our production here and to ensure the highest quality product,” said Prochilo. “Our journey to safeguard and improve our water usage involved extensive engagement with stakeholders in our immediate water catchment area and across Ireland. This engagement was achieved through dialogue with local stakeholders on the ground, together with participation in Environmental Protection Agency Community of Practice for water events nationwide. This ensured we could identify shared water challenges and collaborative responses so that a comprehensive programme leading to water improvement and reduction opportunities across everything we do here was achieved. The result is a more efficient and more sustainable facility, which now uses close to one-third less water in 2019 than we did in 2013.
“We are delighted to be the first AWS Platinum-certified site here in Ireland,” he added, “it is reflective of our continued commitment to meet the highest standards of water stewardship. It also resulted in our own staff’s increased understanding of the value of water, to the extent where they have taken the same principles of water stewardship into their own homes and are spreading the word on the need to conserve such an important resource.”
Katja Seidenschnur, sustainability director, Nestle EMENA, said: “As Nestlé, we are strongly committed to water stewardship and to the AWS standard, as no water user can solve shared water challenges alone. Only working behind our factory gates is not enough: Our agricultural supply chains form the biggest part of our water footprint. Therefore, working with our suppliers and partners is key to having more impact. Askeaton is a good example how the AWS standards help us and our partners to do the right things, together. We are proud that the factory in Askeaton achieved AWS Platinum. We appreciate this as an important proof point for our approach to water stewardship.”
Water scarcity is one of the most pressing global sustainability issues and is the focus of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Six. According to the United Nations, better water management is key to adapting to climate change, and all businesses have a role to play in promoting this. The United Nations estimates that by 2030 global demand for water will exceed supply by 40%. Over 630 million people do not have access to clean drinking water. Almost 2.4 billion people are exposed to contaminated water sources, putting their health and wellbeing at serious risk.
As the world’s largest food producer, Nestlé has committed to taking action to address water sustainability across its business:
- In the period 2010-2019, Nestlé has reduced its direct water withdrawals globally by 31%, with a 37% reduction in the nutrition and healthcare category.
- In 2018, Nestlé launched its comprehensive ‘Caring for Water’ program to address and improve water sustainability in its Agricultural supply chains, Communities, Factories and Watersheds.
- Nestlé is a partner in the Alliance for Water Stewardship standard development and has certified 32 of its factories worldwide to the AWS standard to date and with a commitment to certification of all Nestlé Waters plants by 2025.
- On the wider issue of sustainability, earlier this month Nestlé set out a detailed and time-bound plan to half greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and be net zero by 2050.
As part of this certification, Wyeth Askeaton received practical support from Central Solutions Ltd, AWS Technical Advisory, BM Trada and Irish Manufacturing Research. The initiative also received financial support from Enterprise Ireland’s GreenPlus programme.