Posted: Monday 11th March 2013

Sainsbury’s, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Sunlight and Branston are first four organisations to achieve new international award for water reduction in pilot scheme.

The Carbon Trust is launching the world’s first international award for water reduction to catalyse business action on measuring, managing and reducing water use. This will fundamentally change businesses’ sustainability benchmarks and the way they are viewed by investors, stakeholders and customers.

Carbon reduction is no longer enough. According to the Carbon Trust and a number of leading business pioneers in water management, water is the new frontier in the battle against climate change and the devastating impact of depleting resources. The Carbon Trust is using this platform to urge businesses to reduce their water consumption as a matter of urgency.

In developing the methodology for this new award the Carbon Trust has worked closely with Sainsbury’s, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Sunlight and Branston, four early adopters of the Carbon Trust Water Standard.

According to the Carbon Trust, businesses around the world are not acting fast enough, despite the fact that global water use is predicted to increase dramatically by 2030 to a level far exceeding current freshwater availability. Failure to act is exposing businesses to water scarcity issues down the line, which in some cases could lead to dramatically increased costs, or could grind operations to a standstill.

Interviews with 475 senior executives of large companies in the UK, USA, China, South Korea and Brazil found that only one in seven of those businesses has set a target on water reduction, or publicly reported on water performance. Of those businesses that do see water as a priority risk, two-thirds listed water availability as an issue, although this figure was significantly higher in countries such as China (78%), Brazil (74%) and

South Korea (75%). 86% were concerned that legislation is hovering on the horizon, as governments around the world assess the vulnerability of water resources, and review their policy on water scarcity.

By 2030 it is estimated that global freshwater demand will be 40% above the current supply. Climate changeand pollution are already having a growing impact on the useable supply. This was recognised at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio last year, with UN-Water issuing a statement that the “success of green economy depends on sustainable, integrated and resource-efficient management of water resources.”

Tom Delay, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust, said:

“Addressing water use within a business has not, until now, been high on the agenda for many businesses. However, the harsh realities of future water scarcity mean this needs to change and fast. We’ve launched the Water Standard to help companies monitor and manage their water usage and build resource efficiency into future business plans. We know from our extensive experience helping companies to manage carbon reduction that a stringent approach to use of resources can lead to new commercial opportunities and thriving businesses, particularly for those who take the lead here and set the benchmark for others to follow.”

David Nussbaum, Executive Director of WWF UK, said:

“Water resources are finite, and no resource is more fundamental than water to the health and security of people and the environment. Growing demand, poor management and climate change are creating a global water challenge. In order to manage risk, organisations need to take action to measure, manage and reduce their water use and to encourage better water management across river basins. Standards such as that developed by the Carbon Trust help open these practices up to rigorous, independent certification; and committing to reducing water use year-on-year lets businesses demonstrate that they have begun the journey towards improved water stewardship.”

John Brock, Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises, said:

“Water is fundamental to our business and our communities. To be a sustainability leader, we recognize that we must fully understand our impact beyond carbon. By measuring and managing our water impact within our operations as well as across our value chain, we can address longer-term water scarcity issues. This certification recognizes the progress we have made towards becoming a water-sustainable operation.”

Paul Crewe, Head of Sustainability, Engineering, Energy and Environment at Sainsbury’s, said:

“We are delighted to be one of the first companies to be recognised by the Carbon Trust Water Standard for reducing our water consumption, particularly at this crucial time of increasing natural resource scarcity. We will achieve our target of a 50 per cent relative reduction in water use by the end of next month which is a saving equivalent to 393 Olympic sized swimming pools each year. We have achieved this through a number of water saving measures that form part of our 20x20 Sustainability Plan. This includes eradicating underground leaks, saving individual stores hundreds of thousands of pounds each year. We have also fitted things like pre-rinse spray taps and low-flush toilets in all our stores and invested in rainwater harvesting for all new stores as standard as well as retrofitting these units in existing stores.”

Julian Carr, Director of Sunlight Services Group, said:

“At Sunlight, we’ve reduced water usage through redesigning our wash processes and through investing over £2m in equipment and systems to clean and then re-use water. We’ve made good progress and in the last five years we’ve reduced our water usage by a massive one billion litres per year. In achieving this we have also saved hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year, because less water has to be pumped and treated. We’re proud to be among the first companies to be awarded the Carbon Trust Water Standard and we’re looking forward to working with the Carbon Trust to make further reductions in the coming years.”

Graeme Beattie, Managing Director of Branston said:

“Over the past few years we’ve invested in some major initiatives to conserve our resources, and in 2008 we were first in the food and agriculture sector to be awarded the Carbon Trust Standard. We appreciate the independent endorsement of the Carbon Trust and we are delighted to be one of the first companies to be awarded the Carbon Trust Water Standard in recognition of the ongoing and industry-leading work we are undertaking to conserve our water supply.”

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April 2021

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