The Swiss food giant also announced that it has reduced the water used in its European operations by 36% over the period between 2004 and 2010, after changes to production levels are taken into account.

Nestle executive vice president Europe Laurent Freixe said: “While water scarcity tends to be an issue that is more related to the South, it is highly relevant in Europe as well”.

“We will meet these targets by combining training, changing behaviour, quick wins and knock-on investments,” Freixe added.

According to the European Commission, water scarcity is affecting one in ten people living in the EU.

In addition, Nestlé has reduced overall water withdrawals per tonne of product by one-third since 2005 and has pledged to achieve a 40% reduction per tonne of product by the end of 2015.

The company says that in Europe it carries out systematic reviews of water resources, identifying “hot-spots” where investment will be prioritised and targeted.

Since 2011, Nestlé has been using the concept of a notional cost to analyse water projects based on estimated water prices. The cost is used to evaluate investing in water reusing and recycling projects, by factoring in water scarcity to reflect the true value of water in that area.

Leigh Stringer

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