Dashan factory in China achieves gold-level Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) certification, bringing the total number of factories certified to 12 in one year.
One year ago today, we committed to certifying 20 factories to the international Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard by 2020. We are marking this milestone on our water stewardship journey by proudly announcing the gold-level certification of our Dashan factory in China. The factory is the latest at Nestlé Waters to achieve AWS certification and will be officially presented with its gold-level award at an AWS seminar in Beijing today.
Yet the situation was not completely golden when we first acquired the factory nearly ten years ago. Located in a rural area of Yunnan Province, the local aquifer is sensitive to seasonal variations in rainfall and any excess use of water has immediate consequences for all local water users. We were quickly convinced of the need to take action to start addressing the most pressing local water challenges in a meaningful way. Initial actions included improving online monitoring of the well, more in-depth analysis of the dynamic water level and ensuring that factory water withdrawals are consistently below maximum limits. Water levels have stabilised as a combined result of ongoing actions like these.
Boyce Wu, who led the AWS certification process at the factory, is quick to connect these actions with the factory achieving gold-level certification, “We have had a strengthened well management plan in place for over seven years, and we have reduced the factory’s water use by at least 20% during the same period. We have also prioritised getting to know and speaking to the local community that lives in the vicinity of the factory,” he said. “AWS certification is important to us because it recognises the progress we have been making since 2010,” he elaborated.
This is not the end of the factory’s journey towards sustainable management of the local water resource. Boyce and the team will apply the important lessons they have learned from their AWS certification experience. Primary among them is progress on transparency and improvement in local community relations. Transparency in sharing watershed data and closer links with communities are vital to water stewardship as they build mutual understanding of water challenges as well as trust and resolve among stakeholders to work together to address them.
With this latest certification, we now have a total of 12 factories certified to the AWS Standard. We have also extended our inaugural commitment to include certification of all our factories by 2025 because AWS certification encourages our teams to constantly challenge and improve the way we manage water. Our commitment to water stewardship supports business’s contribution to SDG 6 on water and the company’s sustainable management of water.
The AWS is a global membership-based organisation that promotes and recognises good water stewardship. As part of the certification process, independent auditors look at a number of factors within the groundwater basins where facilities are located and interview a number of internal and external community stakeholders. Sites that achieve certification meet either core, gold or platinum-level requirements.