Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Major Food Companies to Tackle Water Risks in Their Global Supply Chains

Agriculture uses 70% of water worldwide (Credit: ceres.org/FoodWaterRisk) Click to Enlarge.
As climate change, population growth, and water pollution increase pressure on freshwater resources, seven global food and beverage companies Monday announced commitments to work with thousands of growers in their global supply chains to reduce water use and pollution impacts.

The seven companies – Diageo, General Mills, Hain Celestial, Hormel Foods, Kellogg, PepsiCo, and WhiteWave Foods – are participants in the AgWater Challenge, a collaborative initiative organized by Ceres and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).   Participants submitted detailed sustainable sourcing and water stewardship plans and the companies meeting specific criteria were recognized by WWF and Ceres as AgWater Stewards.  A progress report on their commitments will be issued in one year.

“Major food brands can be a powerful and constructive force for scaling water stewardship, especially at the farm level where the biggest footprint is by far,” said Brooke Barton, Senior Director of the Water and Food Program at the nonprofit sustainability group Ceres.  “These brands recognize the material financial impact that water risks pose to their business, from supply disruptions, to higher operating costs, to growth constraints.  More than ever, companies are responding to these supply risks through farmer incentives, local partnerships, and bottom line reductions.”

One-third of the world’s food is grown in areas of high water stress or competition, and agriculture is a leading cause of water pollution worldwide.  The food sector, which uses 70 percent of global freshwater supplies, primarily for growing crops, can play a critical role at protecting limited freshwater resources by working with farmers to become more water smart.

“Mismanagement of our increasingly stressed freshwater resources presents a serious risk to life on Earth—wildlife and humans,” said Lindsay Bass, Manager of Corporate Water Stewardship, WWF.  “The purpose of the Challenge is to encourage these companies to understand and address agricultural water risks, and share the knowledge picked up along the way.  We all have a mutual interest in protecting the world’s most stressed water resources.”

Read more at Major Food Companies to Tackle Water Risks in Their Global Supply Chains

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