Water resource : involving farmers in France


Mineral water in the Vosges is protected by a 10,000 hectares areas land, one of the world’s largest private protected areas. Within this perimeter, farmers introduced a healthy ecosystem to preserve purity of mineral water resource.

The Vosges region lies in the rolling valleys of north-eastern France. It’s a green expanse overlaying the deep, flowing mineral waters of VITTEL, HÉPAR and CONTREX, each a separate and unique source.

Protection of these water resources is essential : our mineral water is purely natural. It remains untreated and untouched until it reaches the palate.

The quality, integrity and sustainability of these sources are directly connected to the land above.

Connecting lands and water resources

Nestlé Waters began working with historians, sociologists, economists, agronomists, animal technicians and hydrogeologists in the 1980s to create a partnership born to protect the land and its resources : the “Agrivair project”.

In collaboration with the French National Institute for Agricultural Research*, the programme aims to work with the local farming community in order to avoid the risk of deterioration in the quality and purity of the mineral water in the Vosges.

To do so, Agrivair favours an open discussion and collaborative approach to the problem and involve all the different players, to have a real determination to go through a radical changing of practices and behaviours.

Agrivair provided financial and technological assistance to local farmers and land users in order to reduce environmental pollution and support transformational efforts.

Supporting a healthy ecosystem

Farmers have eliminated any artificial fertilisation and pesticides, implemented crop rotation to improve soil conditions, and abandoned farming of crops such as corn, which create nitrogen pollution; other land owners, such as golf course, park and race track establishments have eliminated the use of pesticides, herbicides and nitrates.

These practices eliminate potential pollution of the water source, protecting the integrity of the VITTEL, HÉPAR and CONTREX brands.

In order to protect the food chain of pests and predators it is crucial to preserve a natural, healthy ecosystem and to maintain a biological balance between predators and prey.

Did you Know ?

How we limit aphid and field mice impacts ?

Ladybirds were introduced to naturally control aphid populations, and through a partnership with the Bird Protection League, birds of prey were introduced as a method of limiting the population of field mice, who had begun disturbing the production of forage.

The Agrivair program protects 10,000 hectares of land, making it one of the world’s largest private protected areas.

The program serves as an ideal example of watershed conservation and community collaboration, protecting both the land and the waters below.

It is used as a first-class model for watershed conservation for Nestlé Waters and its initiatives and programs for water resource management can be seen at many of our water sources sites.

Quick Facts : French Vittel Awards for environmental conservation


Agrivair has received praise for its initiatives. The 2010 Business and Environment Awards, held by the French Ministry for Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and the Sea and the French Environment and Energy Control Agency, were delivered at the Pollutec industry fair. Vittel won a Special Distinction in the “Business and Biodiversity” category for best approach to site management for its initiatives towards the protection of water resources and biodiversity.

This award recognises Vittel’s contribution to sustainable development and local shared value creation through its conservation actions, benefiting all stakeholders in its territory.

The Agrivair programme results in a win-win situation for the farmers and Nestlé Waters.

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