Water standard will accelerate move to low-carbon economy

Water conservation and reduction in water use will not only provide businesses with substantial savings it is also essential to becoming a sustainable, low-carbon economy, says the Carbon Trust.

At the launch of the Carbon Trust water standard today, delegates at the event made it clear that because water, in most cases, is heated and treated, the carbon emissions associated with its use, production and re-use must be tackled.

Following the announcement last week, the first organisations to achieve the standard, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Sunlight and Branston, received their certification at today’s launch. Sainsbury’s has also achieved the standard but was unable to attend the event.

Director of corporate responsibility and sustainability at Coca Cola Entreprises, Joe Franses, spoke of how water is core to the business and that the ‘protect, reduce, recycle, replenish’ concept behind Coca Cola’s strategy is key to the development and success of the organisation.

“We use a total of 9.5 million cubic metres of water every year, so water is critical to a business like ours. Not only is it the core ingredient within our product but we also use water for rinsing, washing, cooling and is very much at the heart of our production process and our manufacturing facilities,” said Franses.

Also picking up the standard, supplier of linen hire and laundering services, Sunlight’s energy Manager, Peter Woolstenholmes stressed how reducing water consumption also reduces costs. He highlighted the financial impact by explaining that in 2012 the company spent £4.7m on water and effluent.

“The laundry process is recognised for being quite a utility intensive operation, we use a lot of water but we also use a lot of heat and electricity. We’re a commercial organisation and its very important for us to use our utilities as efficiently as possible.

“We save about 750 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year in scope 3 emissions by using less water. Using less water also means we don’t have to pump as much water, which means we get electrical savings. We also don’t have to heat so much water, so we get savings on oil and gas,” added Woolstenholmes.

The standard achievers also discussed the importance of incorporating a water use ratio into a business strategy,and that despite different regions experiencing varied water issues, water reduction should be implemented across the organisation.

Speaking to edie, Franses said: “Irrespective of whether it’s our manufacturing site in East Kilbride, Scotland, where there might be an abundant groundwater source that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter whether or not you reduce your water use ratio – that site is targeted to make sure that we are a local responsible user of water.

“If you look back a few years, you might not have looked at the south east of England and thought that this is an area of water scarcity. You can’t take anything for granted in terms of water, you have to keep making sure that you manage and reduce where ever possible,” added Franses.

Leigh Stringer

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