Nestlé has committed to reducing water consumption by 40% across its European production sites by 2020, compared with 2010 levels.
The Swiss food giant also announced it has reduced the water used in its European operations by 36% during the period between 2004 and 2010, after changes to production levels are taken into account.
“While water scarcity tends to be an issue that is more related to the South, it is highly relevant in Europe as well”, says Nestle executive vice president Europe Laurent.
“We will meet these targets by combining training, changing behaviour, quick wins and knock-on investments,” Freixe added.
According to the European Commission, water scarcity is affecting one in 10 people living in the EU.
In addition, Nestlé has reduced overall water withdrawals per tonne of product by one-third since 2005 and has pledged to achieve a 40% reduction per tonne of product by the end of 2015.
The company says that in Europe it carries out systematic reviews of water resources, identifying “hot-spots” where investment will be prioritised and targeted.
Since 2011, Nestlé has been using the concept of a notional cost to analyse water projects based on estimated water prices. The cost is used to evaluate investing in water reusing and recycling projects, by factoring in water scarcity to reflect the true value of water in that area.