Driving water stewardship
As the leading bottled water company, we take the responsibility not only to apply water stewardship best practices in areas where we operate, but to encourage these practices across the entire industry.
Fact: humankind’s current use of natural resources is putting stress on our environment. For this reason, stewarding resources for future generations has become a driving force at Nestlé Waters. Whether it be our packaging or our operations, we are committed to embedding sustainability in everything we do.
Packaging represents the largest share of our product environmental footprint. Polyethylene terephthalate, known as PET, is the packaging material we use for most of our bottles. While PET is 100% recyclable, more than half of all PET bottles worldwide are not collected for recycling source.
We apply ‘recyclable by design’ principles and carry out lifecycle assessments to minimize the environmental footprint of all our beverage bottles. Over the past 10 years we’ve reduced the amount of PET we need for each liter of bottled water by 22%.
PET offers optimal protection of product quality. At Nestlé Waters, our priority is to minimize the environmental footprint of all our PET bottles through eco-design, increased use of sustainable resources - especially r-PET and bio-PET – and continuing research and innovation to develop new technologies.
We are committed to increase the recycled PET content in its bottles to 35% by 2025 globally and 50% across our US portfolio.
In the US, we have introduced a 700ml bottle made from 100% recycled plastic called rPET. With a modern, premium design, the bottle reflects our commitment not just to protecting the environment, but to helping people drink more water. We also reduced the plastic content of our 500ml Nestlé Waters bottles by over 60%, which avoids the use of more than 2.7 million tons of plastic. In November 2018, we signed an agreement with recycled plastics producer CarbonLITE – this means the supplier is building a production facility near two of our bottling plants.
Additionally, all of our single-serve bottles of Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water and Nestlé Pure Life® Purified Water produced in California are made with 50% recycled plastic. In Europe, we use bio-based plastic for our Levissima bottles, with it making up 30% of our still water bottles and 16% of our 1.5L sparkling water bottles.
As a member of the European Federation of Bottled Waters, we’re proud to support the federation’s four new industry-wide pledges aimed at reducing plastic waste and creating a circular economy. In particular, these pledges aim to collect more PET bottles and give them a second life, as well as using more recycled plastic when creating new bottles. They are:
We have been working with public and private stakeholders in countries where we operate to improve recovery and recycling of PET bottles. Consumers also have a key role play in helping recycling efforts by disposing of plastic bottles properly. We work to develop programs designed to raise consumer awareness that a PET bottle is a resource, not waste.
The work we do depends upon how waste is managed in a particular location, but could include the development of deposit return schemes (DRS) or extended producer responsibility (EPR) approaches. We will use our experience and technical expertise to add value and take a leadership role to drive industry change where we can.
We already support several schemes in Europe aimed at increasing recycling, including the CITEO campaign and the deposit return scheme being introduced in the UK. In the US, we support the Closed Loop Fund, Keep America Beautiful and How2Recycle.
Learn more about how we address plastic packaging waste.
Whether in packaging, manufacturing, or distribution, Nestlé Waters looks for opportunities to reduce its environmental footprint. Our Global Environmental Footprint (GEF) tool allows us to both assess our impact in each area and report on our efforts using an ISO-compliant methodology. Today, GEF is recognized as one of the most comprehensive environmental measurement tools dedicated to the bottled water industry.
At Nestlé Waters, we believe that we can develop our business while having a positive impact on earth’s natural capital. To achieve this, we have made optimizing our environmental performance a corporate priority. To demonstrate this commitment, we use our GEF tool to provide clear, factual and open information on our performance.
To reduce the environmental footprint of our manufacturing operations, we have introduced a number of initiatives in our factories and established partnerships with local stakeholders. Furthermore, to help shape sustainable consumption, we are moving towards increased use of renewable energies such as biogas-generated electricity, solar, wind, and geothermal energy.
Transport has always been a key factor in the bottled water business. Nestlé Waters continues to demonstrate its commitment to decreasing its transport environmental footprint by reducing distance to consumers and promoting cleaner transport technologies.