“I wouldn’t be able to fight everyday for environmental and social sustainability if Nestlé didn’t operate with a fundamental commitment to Shared Value.”
Nelson Switzer, CSO, Nestlé Waters North America
Recently, Environmental Leader looked at a few companies that have announced they are investing in technology to help manage environmental initiatives such as water management, HVAC, air quality sensors, energy management systems, etc. One of these companies was Nestlé Waters. We caught up with Nelson Switzer, chief sustainability officer of Nestlé Waters NA, for more details on how the company is using technology for water management.
Here’s what he had to say:
“Innovation is one of the solutions needed to solve the environmental challenges of the 21st century. But it’s important to note that innovation is not limited to technology, it’s very much reliant on changes in the ways that we think about our business. In fact it is because of our absolute commitment to Shared Value that we are able to engage with new technologies that increase water efficiency in our operations and enhance our ability to monitor and manage the water sources on which we depend.
…innovation is not limited to technology, it’s very much reliant on changes in the ways that we think about our business.
“Recently we collaborated with the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) and certified to the AWS Standard, the first-ever comprehensive global standard for demonstrating responsible water stewardship. The process of aligning and certifying to the AWS Standard encouraged us to identify and implement a number of new water conservation techniques, including reverse osmosis, to better filter and reuse wastewater; advanced water mapping, to more carefully manage the flow of water in and out of the plants; and xeriscaping to reduce supplemental irrigation on the grounds of each factory. It is my hope that someday soon the defining metric in a consumers decision to purchase bottled water, is the companies level of commitment to water stewardship
The process of aligning and certifying to the AWS Standard encouraged us to identify and implement a number of new water conservation techniques…
“While water stewardship often starts with operational improvements, anyone who is serious about responsible resource management knows that this responsibility extends beyond your own four walls. It also means helping to address shared water challenges in the communities in which you operate. For example, in California, we’ve partnered with groups like the Cucamonga Valley Water District on a project that leverages a state-of-the-art treatment process to remove nitrates and other residual contaminants from a well site. I’m proud to say that in 2016, this project restored an additional 250 million gallons of clean drinking water to the local water supply. These types of investments in innovative technologies are necessary to ensure access to clean water, sustainable operations and a reduced environmental footprint, all which benefit both our business and the communities where we operate.”
New Technological Advances
On the manufacturing side, companies are continuing to release advanced, upgraded or brand new equipment for energy and environmental management, often with funding from investors. Last year Bill Gates, for example, organized a group of billionaires to commit to funding clean energy technology (though a new report says that investments from the private sector won’t be enough to halt climate change).
In China, environmentally friendly reforms are beginning to be implemented, creating opportunities for investors to support companies in several areas of environmental and energy management. These include environmental solutions companies which provide technology like water and waste treatment, writes Market Watch.
According to Switzer, “water stewardship is a vast subject with many different players and moving parts; when all stakeholders use Shared Value as a basis for decisions making, good things happen for everyone.”
Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons, Conservation Media Library
A version of this article first appeared on Environmental Leader