The US producer of canned soups and related products, also known as Campbell’s, says it has achieved a 20.7% reduction in operational water use in 2013, against a 2008 baseline. Last year it reduced water use by 2.6% per tonne of food produced, and since 2008, total cumulative water savings have been in the order of 4.8 billion (US) gallons.

The company now wants to sustain this level of progress by standardising its most water-intensive operations, primarily those facilities that produce soup, sauce and juice products, making them more energy-efficient in the process.

Speaking to edie, Campbell’s vice president for infrastructure engineering & environmental programmes Bob Shober said: “As we upgrade production lines in our manufacturing facilities, water and energy conservation learnings are incorporated into the system design. The new operations are more effective and efficient helping to reduce our use of natural resources.”

Water conversation measures have already been implemented across the company’s manufacturing plants. The most effective of these has been heat recovery from cooling water processes for canned and bottled products.

“Waste heat is transferred via heat exchangers to preheat boiler feed water and other hot water processes. The water can then be recycled and reused in the product cooling process. This has also been used at several locations, recovering and reusing cooling water on product evaporators,” Shober said.

Global water tool

He also highlighted the fact that the company has reduced waste water consumption at its Napoleon, Ohio, plant by a third in the past five years – 80% of the facility’s hot water is recycled and used to preheat water for steam.

“Other effective measures include training of employees to incorporate water and energy conservation measures into their daily activities and improved plant cleaning methods and procedures,” Shober added.

On a wider level, Campbell’s has undertaken a water scarcity mapping exercise. Each year it performs a site-by-site mapping of water usage, which is cross-referenced with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) global water tool to include near and long-term water scarcity. It takes account of facility water intake, recycled water and wastewater extraction procedures.

The tool, using close to 30 external datasets from various research and creditable sources, analyzes our plant data (geospatial and water records) against the external datasets and provides us with important information on water dependency, water purification/treatment and water risk on a country level, as well as water supply and water scarcity per country and local watershed levels.

Maxine Perella

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