Weighing in on Water

Aug 29, 2016
Weighing in on Water

"The world will run out of fresh water long before it runs out of oil, with the potential for major deficits by 2030"

-Peter Brabeck-Letmathe


The world is heading towards a major crisis; a food crisis due to water scarcity as a result of overuse. We really are running out of water, despite the fact that it is considered to be a form of renewable resource. In 2015, water scarcity has exceeded the sustainable supply by more than 19% and this number continues to grow at an alarming rate.

Recently, Singapore hosted the Water Leaders’ Summit in conjunction with Singapore International Water Week (SIWW). The event saw the largest gathering of thought leaders in Integrated Sustainable Development from around the world. Chairman of Nestlé S.A., Peter Brabeck-Letmathe who is a prominent key opinion leader on water, was invited as one of the distinguished speakers for this prestigious event where he shared some key insights on why the world needs to make water conservation a necessity and a priority. He also shared some of Nestlé’s best practices involving the conservation of water within the organisation.

How does Nestlé aim to ease the amount of water wastage in our processing plants?

Globally, we have implemented Wastewater Treatment Plants at our factories around the world. We make it a point to reuse the wastewater in our factories; but our greatest achievement to date are our zero-waste factories where 39 of 468 factories have been certified as zero- waste since 2012.

“Wastewater re-use is without a doubt a step in the right direction but it is not always cost effective and with a current potential of 330km³ annually, it is clearly not sufficient on its own to meet the water resource challenge,” says Peter Brabeck-Letmathe. Whilst wastewater treatment re-use remains an excellent idea, it is not yet sufficiently implemented as only about 65km³ of wastewater are actually collected and treated and only a very small part is re-used as drinking water.

In 2015, Nestlé welcomed the adoption of the United Nations (UN) post-2015 development agenda by highlighting the role it will play in supporting goals such as achieving food security, promoting sustainable agriculture and ensuring sustainable management of water. Read more about our global commitment to UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Efforts to conserve or reduce the usage of water in Nestlé Malaysia’s operations are also being actively being carried out. These include Project RILEAF, a riparian reforestation programme, as well as our efforts in attaining the Zero to Landfill status, and in efficient wastewater management. Read more about these initiatives here.

Thus it is clear that leadership and governance remains key in the conservation of water globally. All relevant parties need to work together to ensure that the conservation and management of water is prioritised to ensure the sustainable management of this precious resource.

Related Links:
Water Challenge Blog by Peter Brabeck-Letmathe
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