ONTARIO, Calif., Aug. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) today announced that its Ontario, California water bottling site is the first food and beverage factory in the world to earn Platinum certification under the rigorous Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard. Nestlé Waters is also the first company of any type to achieve this advanced certification in North America.
The AWS Standard is the first, comprehensive global standard for measuring responsible water stewardship across social, cultural, environmental and economic criteria. As part of the AWS certification process, independent auditors look at a number of factors within the watersheds where sites are located, such as water quality, water quantity and the health of important water-related areas. Extensive engagement with key, water-related stakeholders, such as water agencies, NGOs, public officials and community members, is important to identify opportunities and ensure the water stewardship actions are beneficial to local communities. Achieving a Platinum rating involves moving well beyond Core AWS requirements and having significant and positive regional impacts. Independent auditors from California-based SCS Global Services determined that the Ontario site's actions represented best practice and truly advanced-level efforts.
"Nestlé Waters North America's Ontario AWS Platinum certification is reflective of the site's commitment to meeting the highest standards of water stewardship," said Matt Howard, Director for AWS North America. "This re-certification includes the factory's continued focus on water stewardship onsite and at spring sources. Additionally, this advanced-level of certification reflects the positive contributions NWNA has made to the people, economy and nature in the catchment. We are excited to finally have an AWS Platinum-certified site here in North America."
NWNA's leadership in and commitment to water stewardship have been the driving force behind the Ontario factory's extensive history of managing for long-term sustainability, fostering community engagement, and collecting and sharing data. Among these efforts is NWNA's participation in the California Water Action Collaborative's (CWAC) work to improve California's water security. As members, NWNA helped establish baselines for project selection and evaluation, collaborated on watershed restoration projects, and contributed Ontario AWS data to support efforts to define guidelines for setting context-based water targets with the Pacific Institute and CEO Water Mandate. As part of the Arrowhead Spring Special Use Permit issued in 2018, NWNA worked in close coordination with the United States Forest Service to develop an Adaptive Management Plan (AMP), which is predicated on responding to local conditions. Successful implementation of the AMP provides transparent, science-based data that can be used for making informed water governance decisions in the San Bernardino National Forest and beyond.
"We are extremely proud that our Ontario facility is the first food and beverage factory in the world to achieve AWS Platinum certification, globally recognized as the most rigorous water stewardship standard for businesses to meet," said David Tulauskas, Chief Sustainability Officer at NWNA. "It attests to the years of our community-first approach and the effort we have put into many water stewardship initiatives in California – on our own and as part of collective actions. We are working to achieve platinum-level certification at more of our sites, and encourage others in our industry and beyond to do the same."
Ontario's AWS Platinum certification recognizes the site's positive contribution to the local catchment, including best practice examples of the site's community engagement, implementation of water education efforts, participating in water, sanitation and health (WASH) education outreach, and providing water donations to local food banks and emergency relief efforts. Representatives from the Ontario factory meet frequently with local authorities and stakeholders to discuss shared water challenges and best practices in water stewardship. One result from these meetings led to a collaboration with a water agency to improve the resiliency of the local water supply. Since 2016, the site has been engaging in collective action with the Cucamonga Valley Water District (CVWD) to treat contaminated groundwater, enabling the district to generate up to 250 million gallons of potable water annually for the community.
"The Cucamonga Valley Water District is committed to providing for the needs of our community and securing a reliable water supply, now and in the future," said John Bosler, CVWD General Manager. "A significant piece of that is stewardship of natural resources achieved through strategic planning and innovative technologies. Nestlé Waters shares that vision, and they have demonstrated their commitment to water stewardship in a variety of ways including enhancing local water supplies. The achievement of Platinum-level certification is a testament to the hard work and outstanding results achieved by NWNA Ontario's efforts."
All AWS implementation efforts rely heavily on understanding stakeholder interests, which help highlight important opportunities, and developing an appropriate water stewardship plan that includes those interests. These efforts are increasingly important when applying for an advanced-level certification. As a site implements water stewardship activities (such as habitat restoration or data gathering efforts) and discloses the results of water stewardship efforts, it is critical to obtain honest stakeholder feedback regarding actions and impacts. Only through open dialogue, based on trust between parties, can ongoing improvements be achieved.
"It's great to see NWNA demonstrating what good water stewardship looks like in practice with their industry-leading AWS Platinum certification," said Jason Morrison, Head of the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate. "Nestlé was one of the co-founders of the CEO Water Mandate over a decade ago, and has been a great partner in the intervening years. We look forward to working locally with the Ontario NWNA site to leverage AWS-related efforts for future collective action projects that will benefit the catchment and beyond."
In 2018, Nestlé Waters pledged to certify all of its water bottling sites by 2025. Thus far, the company has certified thirty sites around the world, ten of which are located in the United States. To date, all of NWNA's California factories, including Ontario, Sacramento, Livermore, Cabazon, and Los Angeles have been certified under the AWS Standard in the U.S., and these factories are now recertifying under v2.0 of the Standard.
Based in Stamford, Connecticut with approximately 7,000 associates in the United States, we manage natural resources for long-term sustainability, and we conserve more than 18,000 acres of natural watershed area. We currently source water for our six regional spring water brands from 38 active springs throughout the United States. We are also committed to creating shared value and being a good neighbor in the more than 120 communities where we operate in the U.S. For more information, visit us at https://www.nestle-watersna.com/en and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @NestleWatersNA.
About the Alliance for Water Stewardship AWS is a global membership-based collaboration that unites organizations behind its mission: To lead a global network that promotes responsible use of freshwater that is socially and economically beneficial and environmentally sustainable. AWS achieves this through a global water stewardship system, centered on the International Water Stewardship Standard (the AWS Standard), that drives, recognizes, and rewards good water stewardship performance. The AWS vision is that water users and managers are responsible water stewards, who protect and enhance freshwater resources for people and nature. The AWS Standard provides a globally applicable framework for major water users to understand their water use and impact, and to work collaboratively and transparently for sustainable management within water catchment areas.