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Measuring Environmental Impact Throughout Product Life Cycle

nestle environmental issues 

At Nestlé Waters, we believe that we can develop our business while having a positive impact on earth’s natural capital. Our Global Environmental Footprint tool allows us to effectively measure a number of impact areas in each phase of the product life cycle, and to then identify and prioritize actions.

A comprehensive tool for measuring and improving environmental performance

In 2008, a tool was designed and developed for Nestlé Waters by RDC-Environment, a consultancy specializing in Life Cycle Assessments (LCA). Called the Global Environmental Footprint (GEF) tool, it allows us to measure and manage our environmental performance based on multiple environmental criteria. Both GEF and the methodology used underwent a critical peer review by a panel of international LCA experts. Together, they are now recognized as one of the most comprehensive environmental measurement tools dedicated to the bottled water industry.

To align ourselves with standard European databases and calculation methods, we adhere to the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules. Within this framework, GEF measures nine impact areas:

  • GHG emission
  • Non-renewable energy
  • Water consumption
  • Air acidification
  • Eutrophication
  • Renewable energy
  • Ozone depletion potential
  • Human toxicity
  • Solid waste

Nestlé Waters aims to calculate the environmental impacts of all its activities worldwide in the following three main areas: GHG emissions, non-renewable energy consumption, and water consumption. The calculation methods meet the recommendations of the GHG Protocol and the ISO 14064-1 (GHG accounting and verification) and ISO 14040-44 (LCA) quality standards.

environmental issues with bottled water 

GEF can be applied to every level and segment of a product, brand, factory, company, or country. By allowing the integration of a range of environmental performance variables and scenarios, environmental factors can be taken into account in the early stages of project development, making GEF an effective eco-design tool.

Reducing the environmental footprint throughout our product life cycle

Our bottled water life cycle breaks down into four main phases: packaging, manufacturing, distribution, and use.

bottled water environmental impact 

Packaging includes the extraction of raw materials, their transformation into primary and secondary packaging, supply of the packaging to Nestlé Waters factories, and PET bottle collection, sorting and recycling.
See how we improve our PET bottles and drive PET bottle recycling

Manufacturing covers the entire production process at factory level: transforming the packaging materials into bottles, product bottling, conditioning with secondary packaging and storage until transport.
See how we improve the performance of our manufacturing processes

Distribution covers the transport and consumer phases: transport from factory to customer, storage at wholesalers or points of sale, purchase by consumer, transport from retail to consumer, including home & office cooling devices, product consumption, and consumer disposal of empty packaging.
See how we minimize our distribution impact

Use refers to home & office cooling devices, product consumption and consumer disposal of empty packaging.

GEF allows us to specifically measure the environmental impacts of most of these steps. The data obtained is then used to pinpoint those areas where the environmental impact can be most improved. Actions are then identified and prioritized.