At Nestlé Waters, we are continuously optimizing our environmental performance as a corporate priority. The environment is a complex issue, involving many overlapping global challenges: access to water in sufficient quantity and quality, climate change, depletion of non-renewable resources, waste management and biodiversity. We believe that clarity, transparency, honesty and delivering on our commitments is critical. We are firmly committed to avoiding any methodological shortcuts or statements that would mislead external audiences. Instead, we prioritize environmental efficiency and clear communication and feel it is a competitive advantage that should not be compromised.
Global Environmental Footprint
The Global Environmental Footprint (GEF) tool was developed in 2008 to carry out Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) with a multi-environmental criteria approach, making it one of the most complete measurement tools for the specific requirements of the bottled water industry.
The GEF tool was designed for Nestlé Waters by RDC-Environment, a consultancy specializing in environmental LCA, for the purpose of measuring and managing our environmental achievements. Both the tool and the methodology associated with it underwent a critical review by a panel of international LCA experts.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as well as water and energy consumption, are calculated using methods that meet the recommendations of the GHG Protocol, ISO 14064-1 (GHG accounting and verification) and ISO 14040-44 (LCA) quality standards. GHG emissions are calculated in grams of CO2 equivalent (eq). The GEF is a environmental management tool that can be applied to all levels and all segments of a product, a brand, a plant, a company or an entire country.
Products can be analyzed and compared by looking at every life-cycle step as it exists or with various evolutions. Action levers can then be identified and prioritized, making the GEF an efficient eco-design tool. When developing new products, the GEF allows integration of a range of environmental performance variables and scenarios, ensuring the environment is considered at the very early stages of project development.
The GEF measures nine impact areas that are certified by an external panel of experts, including :
- Water consumption
- Non-renewable energy
- GHG emissions
- Air acidification
- Renewable energy
- Ozone depletion potential
- Human toxicity
- Solid waste
Environmental Data Collection
The data input for the GEF tool is sourced from internal figures (primary data) to assess our company’s direct impacts, with reference to external environmental databases (such as Ecoinvent and Plastic Europe for life cycle inventories and data). Country specific data are used for energy and end-of-life parameters. Nestlé Waters aims to calculate the environmental impact of all its activities worldwide for the following three main impacts: GHG emissions, consumption of water and consumption of non-renewable energy. The inventories of emissions or resource consumption are carried out using a life cycle approach. Inventories are based on Nestlé Waters’ primary data, collected by year and by country, and on secondary data from literature. A peer review has been carried out by an
external LCA expert in order to validate data sources, methodology and results.
The GEF system has several areas that are not covered in the analysis:
- Ingredients used for beverages other than plain water
- Activities carried out by co-packers (very limited volumes)
- Cooling in retail and at the consumer’s destination (except for Home and Office delivery)
- Transport of bottled water from the retail store to the consumer’s destination (not yet a consensus on allocation rules)
- Employee business travel and transport of employees from home to the workplace