Many food and drinks processing companies have much to do
before they can claim to be operating sustainably in terms
of water consumption, according to a new report published
by the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility
The report analyses the water use policies and performance
of fifteen leading British and Irish food and drinks businesses
- including their agricultural supply chains and overseas
Three companies - Diageo, SAB Miller and Unilever - show
the greatest evidence of addressing the need to monitor, report
on and reduce their water footprint. Others, on the other
hand, have been slow to respond to the challenge.
The key findings and issues include -
- Water shortages resulting from rising demand, pollution
and climate change are a key environmental challenge, a
global justice issue - and, in some parts of the world,
a cause of conflict.
- Water-thirsty industries have a responsibility to manage
their water use accountably and sustainably.
- The food and drinks sector is among the heaviest water
users, especially when agricultural supply chains - often
involving irrigation - are taken into account.
- Major food and drinks processing companies have much to
do before they can claim to be operating sustainably in
terms of water consumption.
- Only three companies - Diageo, SAB Miller and Unilever
– show signs of adequately addressing the need to monitor,
report on and reduce their water footprint.
- Recommended sector-wide improvements include -
- identifying water stress and local impacts of water
- taking more responsibility for water consumption
in the supply chain;
- consulting with local communities;
- enhancing accountability through reporting and
disclosure - and
- making environmental performance a factor in senior
Companies in the survey included - Associated British Foods,
Britvic, C&C; Group, Cadbury Schweppes, Dairy Crest, Diageo,
Glanbia, IAWS, Kerry Group, Northern Foods, Premier Foods,
SAB Miller, Scottish & Newcastle, Tate & Lyle, Unilever.
All were FTSE 350 or ISEQ (Dublin) listed when research began
To download an Executive summary of the report - Click
For more information on the Ecumenical Council for Corporate
Responsibility (ECCR) - Click
 The Ecumenical Council for Corporate
Responsibility is a group of religious shareholders which
advises churches on up to €7 billion of investments.