STAMFORD, Conn., Aug. 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans rank clean water as the most important factor to living a healthy life (27 percent of consumers and 32 percent of experts) – higher than even getting enough sleep (25 percent of consumers and 22 percent of experts) and eating healthy foods (23 percent of consumers and 25 percent of experts), according to "Perspectives on America's Water." The study, the second annual of its kind commissioned by Nestlé Waters North America, surveyed a total of 6,142 American consumers and experts on water-related topics.
Results from the study indicate that water conservation efforts are a key priority for Americans, with more than half of consumers (55 percent) and experts (60 percent) saying they think about their water usage on a daily basis. However, an average of 42 percent admit that they do not currently conserve water, but are willing to do so. One reason for this seems to be a lack of education about water conservation: almost one-in-three consumers and experts say they don't know enough ways to conserve water in their daily household activities.
"Consumers have access to many guidelines about how to recycle, but far less guidance on how to care for and conserve water," said Valeria Orozco, Director of Sustainability at Nestlé Waters North America. "As leaders in the bottled water industry, we have an opportunity to further expand our efforts to inspire and educate people – including our own associates – about how to be good water stewards."
Consumers Expect Businesses to Do More to Conserve While a majority of consumers (58 percent) in the study say that reducing their water usage is a key action they take to help protect the environment, both consumers and experts expect businesses to do their part.
More than half (53 percent) of consumers and two-thirds (67 percent) of experts surveyed say that businesses in the U.S. use too much water. Additionally, when asked to grade U.S. businesses on how often they contribute to sustainability efforts, the majority of both consumers and experts grade them a "C" – suggesting there is room for more efforts to be made. To improve their water conservation, the majority of consumers say businesses should prioritize several efforts, including: reducing the amount of water they use in their operations (81 percent), using eco-friendly products (81 percent), and following a business standard for water conservation (80 percent). In addition, more than two-thirds of consumers believe working with community groups on water-related initiatives (70 percent) and educating community members on water usage and conservation (67 percent) should also be high priorities for businesses.
"There is a clear call to action for the business community to do more when it comes to protecting our water resources," said Orozco. "That's why Nestlé Waters has committed to certifying 100 percent of our facilities around the world according to the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard. This is our way of ensuring and demonstrating that our water use is not only environmentally sustainable, but also socially equitable and economically beneficial to the local community."
Improving and Conserving Existing Water Systems Seen as Best Approach Nearly seven-in-ten consumers and experts surveyed (67 percent of both) say they consider contamination to be the biggest threat to clean drinking water in the U.S., followed by aging infrastructure (55 percent of consumers and 60 percent of experts) and depletion of water sources (49 percent of consumers and 54 percent of experts).
American consumers and experts surveyed believe the best approaches to addressing issues related to access to clean water lies in fixing what already exists. This includes improving aging infrastructure (31 percent of both consumers and experts), followed by conservation of our existing water sources (27 percent of consumers and 28 percent of experts), and finally, innovation (22 percent of consumers and 26 percent of experts).
But there is a generational divide in these solutions: Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation surveyed (34 percent) indicate that focusing on infrastructure will have the greatest impact, compared with Gen Z and Millennials (27 percent). On the other hand, younger generations are more likely than older generations to see conservation and innovation as the most impactful solutions (31 percent younger vs. 28 percent older and 26 percent younger vs. 19 percent older, respectively).
When asked about specific solutions to address concerns related to access, infrastructure and contamination, consumers and experts surveyed believe the following are most necessary:
Early detection systems to identify contamination in water supply (65 percent of consumers and 66 percent of experts)
New technology to restore contaminated water to safe drinking water (61 percent of consumers and 64 percent of experts)
Better efficiency measures in water collection and purification methods to save time and money (54 percent of consumers and 60 percent of experts)
Infrastructure initiatives to use natural systems to filter and store water (54 percent of consumers and 52 percent of experts)
Infrastructure initiatives to replenish depleted water sources (54 percent of consumers and 55 percent of experts).
To see the full results of the study, visit our website.
What We're Doing About it At Nestlé Waters North America, we believe access to safe, clean drinking water is a fundamental human right. We strive to be responsible stewards of water, and commissioning this study provides us one tool to help us better understand the concerns and sentiments others share about this precious resource. We are constantly working to ensure we manage water sustainably, protect it through impactful collaborations, and help to educate the next generation of water stewards. For example:
Responsibly managing shared water resources: Nestlé Waters North America was the first company in North America to receive certification according to The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard, the first-ever comprehensive global standard for measuring responsible water stewardship across social, environmental, and economic criteria. To date, Nestlé Waters has achieved AWS certification for six facilities in North America, including all five of our bottling factories in California, and one in Hope, Canada, putting us on track towards our commitment to certify all of our facilities around the world by 2025.
Collaborating and engaging in collective action: We work with communities, environmental non-profit organizations, and other businesses across the country to restore and protect watersheds, and help ensure access to water. For instance, in Michigan, Nestlé Waters has donated more than $500,000 to fund multiple projects to improve the health of the Muskegon River. In California, we have partnered with the Cucamonga Valley Water District in Rancho Cucamonga in San Bernardino County to support a groundwater treatment project which is expected to restore approximately 250 million gallons of additional clean drinking water each year to the local water supply.
Educating future water stewards: In the states where we have operations, to date, we have helped educate nearly two and a half million members of the next generation of water stewards through programs like Project WET, Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Maine and our Zephyrhills Water Ventures program in Florida. Since 1993, we have partnered with Project WET to help teach more than 250,000 children across the country about water-related issues. Since 2000, more than 120,000 Maine students have participated in environmental education programming through Nestlé Waters curricula and/or funding. And since 2013, the Zephyrhills Water Ventures truck that we fund has traveled across Florida, educating more than two million students about caring for water.
Educating our associates: For the past two years, we have worked with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to develop a learning module for all Nestlé Waters North America associates to teach them about their connection to water and empower them to be better water stewards. We are now working to make this water education tool available to other Nestlé operating companies, to help share our knowledge across the Nestlé network.
Methodology PSB, an independent research firm, on behalf of Nestlé Waters North America, conducted an online survey among 5,767 consumers, with an oversample of respondents in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Washington. PSB also surveyed 375 experts in the field, including government officials, academics, NGO employees, utility company business decision-makers, and engineers.
About Nestlé Waters North America Nestlé Waters North America offers an unrivaled portfolio of bottled water brands for healthy hydration, including Poland Spring®, Nestlé® Pure Life®, Perrier® and S. Pellegrino®. The company also owns and operates ReadyRefresh SM by Nestlé®, a customizable water and beverage delivery service. Just Click and Quench.SM
Based in Stamford, Connecticut with some 8,500 associates located across North America, we are committed to reducing our environmental footprint across our operations. As a natural resource company, we sustainably manage 47 spring sources and conserve nearly 21,000 acres of natural watershed area. We are also committed to creating shared value and being a good neighbor in the 140 communities where we operate in the U.S. For more information, visit us at www.nestle-watersna.com/en and follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @NestleWatersNA.