Certification by independent global entity reaffirms company’s water stewardship efforts
Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) is pleased to announce that our South Houston and Pasadena bottling facilities in Texas have received certification under the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) International Water Stewardship Standard. These AWS certifications are the first for any company in Texas, and the ninth and tenth for Nestlé Waters North America. They add to the 20 Nestlé Waters global facilities certified elsewhere worldwide, and will help the company meet its commitment to certify all of its sites globally to the AWS Standard by 2025.
AWS is a global, member collaboration comprised of businesses, non-governmental organizations and public sector groups, which is committed to protecting local water resources through the adoption and promotion of a universal framework for the sustainable use of water. The AWS Standard is the first of its kind globally to promote best practices in water stewardship that emphasize stakeholder engagement, benefit communities, and preserve local watersheds, which are key priorities for Nestlé Waters North America.
“I am excited to recognize the tremendous efforts of Nestlé Waters North America in achieving AWS certification for two of its facilities in Texas,” said Matt Howard, Director for AWS North America. “Recent rain events and flooding in and around Houston clearly illustrate the need for businesses to be more resilient in the face of extreme weather events that can impact operations and severely disrupt the lives of employees. The AWS Standard and the leadership of NWNA in this regard show the value proposition for corporate water stewardship and serious engagement with water-related stakeholders.”
NWNA has been operating in Texas for nearly 40 years, with four facilities and three spring sites in northeast and southeast Texas. As part of its springs operations, the company conducts extensive studies and regular monitoring of groundwater, surface water, and the local ecosystems at all its spring sites. Data is regularly collected from multiple monitoring points and then used to help ensure that withdrawals are sustainable and preserve a healthy ecosystem for the long-term.
“We are proud that both our Pasadena and South Houston facilities have been awarded the AWS certification which appropriately spotlights their exceptional efforts to help preserve and protect shared water resources and support the communities where we live and operate,” said Alex Gregorian, Vice President, Head of Technical and Production, Nestlé Waters North America. “The intended outcomes from applying the AWS Standard are good water governance, healthy status of water-related areas, good water quality conditions, sustainable water balance and safe water, sanitation and hygiene for all. This is a very rigorous global water stewardship standard, and achieving certification is testimony to how committed NWNA is to sustainably managing natural resources.”
As part of the AWS certification process, third-party auditors review a number of factors within the NWNA catchments, such as water quality, assessments of existing water sources, and the health of important water-related areas (IWRAs). Audit preparation tasks included collecting site-specific information at NWNA’s spring source (such as water balance and quality monitoring), managing incoming and outgoing water quality at the facilities, and talking to specific stakeholders within the catchment to understand their perspectives. These data points provide a holistic profile of the factory and spring operations and the environment in which we operate. To confirm the appropriateness of NWNA efforts, AWS auditors identified and interviewed community stakeholders, as well as individuals within the South Houston and Pasadena facilities.
“The Alliance for Water Stewardship has a global, independent certification process to recognize water users such as Nestlé Waters North America who are good stewards of their resources and their communities,” said Dr. Robert Mace, interim executive director of The Meadows Center for Water & Environment, a leader in water, environmental education and research, and environment management and policy topics in Texas, the U.S. and internationally. “The certification of NWNA’s operations in Texas recognizes a track record of dedication and commitment to water conservation as well as active engagement in stewardship activities with other stakeholders to help manage our state’s water resources sustainably.”
Water education was cited by interviewed stakeholders as a critical need in Texas. To address that need, NWNA demonstrated comprehensive water-related educational initiatives through partnerships with local schools; funding and partnerships with outdoor education centers; support of The Meadows Center for Water & Environment’s “Water Grand Challenges” series; and NWNA’s annual “Every Drop Counts” Scholarship Program, which has awarded more than $350,000 to Texas students pursuing degrees and careers in environmental science since 2002.
The AWS certification process can be achieved through individual and/or collective actions with external partners, with the qualifying factor being that all actions should benefit the people, the economy, and nature in that area. For example, NWNA partnered with the Houston Food Bank and provided water donations for disaster relief support, including 47 truckloads during Hurricane Harvey. This is just one example of NWNA’s commitment to the AWS Water for Sanitation and Health (WASH) outcome of supporting access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene for all.
“The Houston Food Bank is grateful for Nestlé Waters North America’s generous community support,” says Brian Greene, Houston Food Bank President/CEO. “Through the relationships with these two local NWNA facilities, we receive weekly donations of product and the year-to-date donation is 2.9 million pounds, which is equivalent to almost six million servings of water. In addition to being instrumental in keeping our warehouse stocked with a steady, regular supply of water, Nestlé Waters North America has responded to multiple large requests after disaster needs and they sent truckloads of product. During times of disaster, water is one of the most important items the Food Bank can provide to people in need. Most recently NWNA supplied the Houston Food Bank with 81 pallets of NWNA water to support neighbors impacted by Tropical Storm Imelda.”
In addition to water education and donations, NWNA monitors and manages water quality across all facets of our operations, and works to help improve the health of catchment areas. NWNA’s Texas-based natural resource and factory teams have partnered with the Texas Conservation Fund for Houston’s “River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash®”, the largest waterway clean-up in the nation. Lori Traweek, President of the Texas Conservation Fund Board and CEO of Gulf Coast Water Authority – NWNA’s wastewater treatment authority at their Pasadena Factory – was one of the stakeholders during the AWS process.
“Earning the certification from the Alliance for Water Stewardship is a very impressive achievement for Nestlé Waters North America’s South Houston and Pasadena sites,” said Traweek. “That effort shows a strong commitment to responsible stewardship and sustainability.”
“Nestle Waters North America’s certification by the Alliance for Water Stewardship demonstrates our continued dedication to sustainable environmental practices and effective community engagement,” said NWNA Texas Natural Resource Manager, Trey Mixon. “This is a continuous process, and our certification does not mean that our work ends here – we will report to AWS auditors every year as part of our certification, which will help us continue demonstrating our commitment to helping to provide shared value to the communities in which we live and work.”
In addition to the South Houston and Pasadena facilities, all of NWNA’s California facilities, including Ontario, Sacramento, Livermore, Cabazon, and Los Angeles, along with its Allentown, Pennsylvania Stanwood, Michigan , and Hope, British Columbia (Canada) facilities have received AWS certification.