Evian unveils carbon-neutral bottling site

Danone-owned bottled water brand Evian has unveiled its new production facility in France that will modernise how the company produces and transports its products, as part of a wider goal to become the first carbon-neutral Danone brand by 2020.

The new facility, located in Publier near Evian-les-Bains, France, has been certified as carbon neutral by the Carbon Trust and is fully powered by renewable energy sources. Evian will also invest €280m by 2020 in a facility producing all Evian bottles sold worldwide.

“Today we are in the midst of a genuine Alimentation Revolution. Brand relevance, integrity, and transparency are increasingly important factors shaping our consumers’ choices. At Danone, we have committed ourselves fully to this revolution, aware that in some cases our decision will put us ahead of the curve,” Danone’s chief executive Emmanuel Faber said.

“Evian has transformed its bottling site, now certified as carbon neutral by the Carbon Trust, that I am very proud to inaugurate it today. This achievement combines a unique workplace organization, a shift to digital technology, and technologies and sustainability solutions at the cutting edge of our sector worldwide — bringing together everything we need to support the brand’s development while preserving the natural resources we cherish and continuing to develop the local economy.”

The new linear production line at the site is capable of producing 72,000 bottles per hour, all of which are 100% recyclable. The production site is certified to ISO 9001, ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 standards.

Strategically located next to one of the largest private railway stations in France, up to 60% of the produce will be shipped by train. Part of the €280m investment will be used to offset emissions from transportation and Evian works with 13 municipalities in the catchment area to convert 40,000 tonnes of organic waste annually, to be used as fertilizer by local farmers and biogas to power homes equivalent to the annual gas consumption of the bottling site.

Repackaged aims

Between 2008 and 2016, Evian reduced its total industrial energy consumption by 23% per litre of water while increasing the volume of bottles produced. Danone has annual sales of around €4.6bn from bottled water and Evian is the biggest brand in that product category.

As part of the 2020 journey, Evian is aiming to use 100% recycled materials in its packaging. By the end of 2017, the company estimates that 25% of the materials used in products will be from recycled plastic.

Danone has already teamed with the bottled water division of the Nestlé Group and a Californian start-up company to launch a new alliance aimed at commercialising 100% bio-based plastic bottles.

The ambition to source fully-renewable plastic bottles has been gaining traction for some time. Danone has previous in this area, while major firms such as Heineken and Coca-Cola have also pushed the agenda forwards.

If bio-based bottles do become commercialised, the use of traditional plastic bottles may finally subside. Plastic is currently plaguing the oceans and despite PET bottles being fully-recyclable, only 60% of the bottles are currently recycled in the UK.

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie