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Every Last Drop. S a v i n g w a t e r a l o n g t h e f o o d s u p p l y c h a i n. Why water matters.

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Every Last Drop


Why water matters

As the global population continues to rise, an increasing level of freshwater will be required for drinking, food production and sanitation. The effects of climate change are likely to place even more pressure on supplies. Unchecked this could lead to major upheavals around the globe because of food and water shortages

The food and drink industry is particularly vulnerable because of its reliance on supplies of freshwater for both its raw material and processing needs

Therefore all of us, whether at home or in the work place, share a responsibility to use water efficiently and with due regard to the needs of others with whom we share this planet

“Fierce national competition over water resources has prompted fears that water issues contain the seeds of violent conflict.”-- Kofi Annan

“The water crisis that seems possible within the next 10 to 20 years will therefore quite probably trigger significant shortfalls in cereal production and, as a result, a massive global food crisis”

-- Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of Nestlé

“When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water”-- Benjamin Franklin

Reducing the impact of water use

along the supply chain

  • Address water security concerns by managing availability, access, use and local water catchment issues
  • Consider the impact of water when creating new products or reformulating existing ones and look to design in maximum water efficiency at all stages of the supply chain
  • Apply sustainable sourcing principles to your procurement practices, using established supplier and international standards, to reduce the impact of your company’s water use (including the water that is embedded in products)
global water scarcity index
Global Water Scarcity Index

Does your company source ingredients from any of these water stressed areas?

Source: FAO, Nations Unies, World Resources Institute (WRI)

Reducing the impact of water use

along the supply chain

  • For on-site operations and in partnership with your suppliers and customers, apply the water hierarchy (reduce, reuse, recycle) to eliminate inefficiency and waste
  • Work with your logistics and distribution providers to prevent pollution through, for example spillages, impacting the water environment
  • Communicate to your customers and consumers the most water efficient way to use your products
  • Engage with communities at catchment level and consider local ecosystems as part of managing the risks associated with your water abstraction, use and discharge
Managing water in your


  • Know your water sources for each operating site, the volume used and associated costs - identify which other users you share your water resources with to help manage risk during times of scarcity
  • Map your water use on site and prepare a water mass balance, which will assess the flow of water through your plant along with effluent discharge points
  • Identify reduction opportunities and associated cost savings and set targets in order to deliver continuous improvement
food and drink manufacturing industry environmental management toolkit
Food and Drink Manufacturing Industry Environmental Management Toolkit
  • Environment management toolkit for both regulated businesses and those SMEs below permitting thresholds
  • Developed by the Environment Agency, FDF and other industry trade associations
  • The toolkit can be found here
Managing water in your


  • Implement an effective environmental management system such as ISO 14001, or use the Environment Agency’s environmental management system (EMS) toolkit, both of which will also improve your compliance and relations with the regulators
  • Engage employees in water reduction initiatives
  • Investigate and share knowledge of new technologies to enable water to be recycled either on site for non direct food contact operations of for use by third parties to assist in the management of water demand
  • Investigate government financial incentives to improve water efficiency
Federation House Commitment

Signatories commit to making a contribution to the target and, in turn, have access to a package of benefits to help them to review and reduce their water use including:

• Up to three days free on-site technical implementation support

• Access to on-line water management tools

• Access to benchmarking information and Good Practice Guidance

• An opportunity to participate in a peer working group

• An opportunity to promote success to the rest of the industry

The Federation House Commitment (FHC) aims to help reduce overall water usage across the Food and Drink sector by 20% by the year 2020

Making water a

boardroom priority

  • Evaluate how dependent your business and your supply chain is on water. Conduct a risk assessment
  • Establish a water policy, either standalone or as part of the company’s environmental policy
  • Encourage a water efficiency culture within your company and with your suppliers and customers
Making water a

boardroom priority

  • Set company/site specific targets to reduce water usage and assess performance annually
  • Get involved in collective action at local and/or national level such as via the WRAP / FDF Federation House Commitment
  • Include water management activities, governance and performance in the company’s corporate reporting
  • Find ways to engage constructively with your local community and regulators to build on your reputation as a responsible water user
What every individual

can do to save water

  • Monitor how much water you use. Installing a water meter will help you do this effectively – most homes in England and Wales may have a free one installed by their water company
  • Fix leaks, dripping taps and don’t leave taps running – it really can save you money!
  • Use water efficient appliances, devices and techniques. For example install a more efficient shower head that reduces water use
What every individual

can do to save water

  • Reuse water wherever possible and when it is safe to do so e.g. water used to rinse vegetables could be used to water plants
  • Capture rainwater for garden and other outside uses and make space for rainwater to drain away naturally
  • Be aware of the wider environmental impacts of what you are pouring down the drain
  • Contact your water company, Waterwise or the Environment Agency for more water saving tips
“I warmly welcome this initiative from the members of the FDF Water Working Group to develop this simple guide as a first step to help food companies and individuals use water wisely along the supply chain.  I would encourage all businesses and the people who work in the sector to take it on board.”

Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury, Chairman, Environment Agency

What to do next
  • Please keep this leaflet handy and share with colleagues
  • Download the poster versions from the FDF website and display where others can see
  • Consult the FDF website for more downloadable resources along with details of forthcoming webinars and workshops

If you have a case study on water management in the supply chain, operations or in communications to consumers or employees please contact Peter Andrews, Sustainability Executive ([email protected])