What Is Certified Water And What Does It Have To Do With Shared Value?

Did you know that you’ve been drinking UN-certified bottled water?
That’s about to change… 

Last week Nestlé Waters North America set a milestone when its Ontario, California, factory became the first facility in North America to receive certification for meeting the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard. The standard was created, with and for Nestle’s stakeholders which includes, environmental conservation groups, development organizations, and industry leaders.

“The AWS Standard is designed to guide water-using sites toward four outcomes: good water governance, sustainable water balance, good water quality, and healthy status of important water-related areas. The conformity of sites implementing the Standard is verified by credible third-party auditors prior to certification,” said Matt Howard, Director for AWS North America. “We are excited about what will be the first of many AWS certificates issued in North America, as more companies adopt collaborative and transparent water use practices. For every facility that meets the core criteria of the Standard, we move a step closer to the goal of global, sustainable freshwater use that is socially, environmentally, and economically responsible.”

The reason that the California facility was selected as the first location for AWS certification is simple. Nestle is serious about living up to it’s guiding principle of shared value and that’s where the challenges are the greatest. By the end of 2017, Nestlé Waters North America is committed to implementing the stewardship Standard at all 5 of its water-bottling facilities in California.

But the AWS Standard is hardly the whole story. Nestlé Waters has initiated water conservation measures at facilities throughout the state. One recent project introduced technologies that recycle water for cooling and other uses projected to save 67 million gallons of water per year across the five bottling plants in California. Additionally, Nestlé Waters has also partnered with the Cucamonga Valley Water District in San Bernardino County to construct a groundwater treatment project expected to restore an additional 250 million gallons of available clean drinking water each year to the local water supply.

Launched in 2009, the Alliance for Water Stewardship is a nongovernmental organization founded by leading organizations representing social and environmental interests, including The Nature Conservancy, Pacific Institute, Water Stewardship Australia, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Since that time, Nestlé Waters has joined dozens of other companies, government agencies, NGOs, and educational institutions as a member of AWS to promote best practices in water stewardship

Nelson Switzer, CSO at Nestlé Waters North America

The AWS Standard aligns with our longstanding commitment to sustainable water management and creating shared value in the communities in which we operate. We take our responsibility as a water steward seriously, and understand how important it is to have a rigorous standard with which to measure our water resource management practices and sustainability efforts. 

Nelson SwitzerCSO at Nestlé Waters North America

The AWS Standard covers a wide variety of watershed issues, including the sustainable water balance, water quality, and shared water challenges within the region where a facility is located. According to Switzer, “achieving and maintaining AWS certification will help us continue leading water stewardship practices through efficiency, water resource management and community engagement and that fits right in our wheelhouse for creating shared value.
Nelson Switzer is the Chief Sustainability Officer at Nestlé Waters North America