Food and drink manufacturers reap rewards of water reduction

Members of the food and drink manufacturing industry have saved more than £2m in the purchase of water alone between 2012 and 2013, with collective water reductions of 1.35 million m3.

Signatories of the Federation House Commitment (FHC) have made significant water reductions since 2007, with a collective reduction in water use of 15.6% (excluding water in product). Figures for water intensity have also fallen dramatically.

The amount of water needed per unit of production has fallen by 22% compared to the 2007 baseline, decreasing by 0.49m3 per tonne of product. The total savings amount to a 6.1 million m3 in annual water use since FHC launched, despite production increasing by 8.2% at the same sites during the period.

These reductions have been achieved through a range of water management initiatives, such as at Kellogg’s manufacturing site in Manchester. The plant halved its water use since joining FHC in 2008 and implemented a reverse osmosis water treatment system in 2012 which reduced water use by 26% in one year.

Great result

The figures come as part of the Commitment’s annual progress report, published by WRAP today (July 30). WRAP’s sustainable food systems director Richard Swannell said: “Today’s findings show the FHC signatories’ commitment to contributing towards the Food Industry Sustainability Strategy water reduction target of 20% by 2020.

“I’m particularly impressed by the reduction of water-use-intensity in the last year, which continued at a rate comparable with the early stages of the Commitment, a great result since many of the easier wins have already been implemented.”

The FHC was formed in 2007 to help companies in the food and drink sector reduce water use across their manufacturing sites and it now has more than 70 signatories.

Environment Minister Dan Rogerson said: “Becoming more water efficient is not only good for the environment but passes on savings to companies which in turn helps create a stronger economy and fairer society. I am very pleased to see the manufacturing industry reducing its water use and I hope others will follow suit.”

Matt Field

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