In a press release last year, Envirowise warned that companies are chucking the equivalent of 40 bottles of champagne the drain every minute. Greenbang shuddered to contemplate such a waste of fizz. Then Envirowise explained that it was the financial equivalent of 40 bottles of champagne going down the drain every minute in wasted water. Greenbang still shuddered, just in a different way.
But this week, 21 members of the Food and Drink Federation have pledged to cork such champagne-equivalent profligacy with a pledge to cut their water usage by 140 million litres of water per day – equivalent to 56 Olympic-size swimming pools – and a save themselves a not insignificant £60m a year on water bills.
The signatories are: apetito; Birds Eye Iglo; Britvic; Cadbury Schweppes; Coca-Cola Enterprises; GlaxoSmithKline; Kellogg Marketing & Sales Co; Kraft Foods UK; Mars Snackfood; Müller Dairy (UK); Nestlé UK; PepsiCo UK; Premier Foods; Tate & Lyle; UIN Foods; Unilever UK; Uniq; United Biscuits; Warburtons; Weetabix; and Young’s Seafood. These companies generate a combined annual turnover of over £15 billion.
The Commitment will help FDF members to achieve their water reduction goals, as set out in the Federation’s recently launched Five-fold Environmental Ambition. It will also be central to achieving the industry-wide target in the Food Industry Sustainability Strategy to reduce water use, outside of that embedded in products themselves, by 20% by 2020 compared to 2007.
Companies working with Envirowise will review their current water use and develop site specific action plans to significantly cut water use and costs within six months of signing up to the commitment. They will report annually to Envirowise on water and cost savings made on site. Envirowise will offer signatories a package of support measures to help them.