Bottled water : 5 ways to reduce transport footprint


Because the bottled water industry involves large volumes of product, the optimization of transport’s environmental impacts is our main consideration. Therefore, the wide majority of our business is locally focused.

Bottled Water Distribution in Key Figures :

  • 95%: it is the percentage of Nestlé Waters’ production sold in its country of origin.
  • 480 km: it is the average distance travelled from factory to customers in Europe (2011-2012).
  • 79%: it is the percentage of our products that are directly shipped to customers in 2014.
  • To limit transport distance Nestlé Waters encourages direct shipping without intermediary storage, from factory to customers.

Bottling operations are located in the immediate vicinity of the water sources. While distance is an important economic and environmental consideration, the bottled water industry has limited flexibility in choosing the location of its sources and factories.

This is particularly true for natural mineral or spring sources, which require stringent requirements guaranteeing consistency of its original and natural composition. These unique sources are typically located outside of urban centres.

For this reason, Nestlé Waters supported several initiatives and process to improve bottled water transports initiatives :


1/ Closer bottled water factories to our customers

The NESTLÉ PURE LIFE model is introducing opportunities to reduce distance to consumers. NESTLÉ PURE LIFE is a global multi-source model providing safe and affordable drinking water, adapted to local preferences. The water can be purified utilising several treatments in order to comply with our stringent product quality requirements. Compared with natural mineral waters, prepared waters offer a wider range of opportunities for exploring new water resources, in particular to settle our factories closer to populated areas.


2 / Using alternative transport modes

In many cases, two or three modes of transport are combined before our products reach the consumer. However, it remains highly dependent on the status of the existing alternative freight networks in a given region, such as railway, shipping canals and harbours. At Nestlé Waters we explore all economically-feasible opportunities to divert an increasing share of our transported tonnage from roads.

3 / Exploring new technologies

Nestlé Waters carefully follows the development of any new technologies that would improve environmental performance for a given transport mode. In particular, our Home and Office businesses in North America and Poland have initiated pilot projects to replace their regular truck fleet with hybrid trucks (gasoline and electric engines).

This transition is expected to accelerate in future years as the technology improves and our current delivery trucks are replaced.

4 / Optimizing payload

Payload is one of the areas of the distribution phase where we have found opportunities to reduce our environmental footprint. Local regulations define the maximum allowable weight of final product that can be loaded onto a truck.

Based on current limitations, Nestlé Waters has actively worked to optimise the ratio between our actual load and the authorised allowance to reduce the environmental impact of transport per litre.

As a result, the worldwide average road payload has increased reaching 22,5 tonnes (2014) of finished product per truck. We also believe that increasing payload regulatory limitations can be very beneficial in order to decrease the number of trucks on the road, thereby reducing the environmental impacts per litre transported.

5 / Partnership with suppliers


We favour long-term partnerships with carriers and include environmental criterions in the supplier selection process. The most recent trucks -such as Euro5, Euro6 - have benefited from significant improvements to reduce fuel consumption and emissions versus older generations.

Consequently, we also pay close attention to the environmental performance of partner / supplier vehicle fleets. Despite this on-going work to improve vehicle performance, we continue to utilise national average truck efficiency statistics in our environmental performance calculations.

We are working with bottled water suppliers to progressively incorporate actual carrier data in order to more accurately reflect our selective truck policy.

Once this has been implemented, we expect a further reduction in our accounting of Nestlé Waters’ transport impacts.

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