Titled ‘Smart Water: A prosperous future for the food and drink supply chain,’ the report addresses the need for food and drink manufacturers to improve how they manage water, and what tools are available at present to help them achieve this.
Water is an essential resource in the manufacturing industry, and cleaning processing equipment, plants and food products account for up to 70 percent of a factory’s usage of water—these all generate a significant amount of wastewater. Even more so for the agricultural part of the industry, not-for-profit sustainability coalition Ceres estimates that globally, irrigating crops and raising animals consumes approximately 70 percent of the world’s freshwater.
It is no wonder that there is cause for concern about the sustainability of the world and the food and drink manufacturing sector worldwide. “We are all facing this urgent challenge and need to find ways in which we can not only drive efficient use and effective treatment of our water and wastewater, but work collaboratively at a catchment level to implement interventions where they can be most efficient and sustainable,” said Fiona Kendrick, chairman and chief executive officer of Nestlé UK & Ireland, in the report.
The report outlines steps that would be key for manufacturers to utilise their water resources effectively, contributing to a sustainable future. These include: understanding in detail where in their chain water is most used, how it is sourced and how to improve water usage; creating a plan of action; investing in water-saving processes and technologies; working together with agricultural partners and key suppliers and encouraging them to develop sustainable water practices; and coming up with contingency plans in the event of flooding and water shortages, as well as collaborating on sustainable practices at both a catchment level and through government schemes.
Already, companies are beginning to reduce their water usages through these strategies as they understand the importance of saving on water consumption, and many have also included target goals for the near future.