A group of 21 companies, including Birds Eye Iglo, Cadbury Schweppes, GlaxoSmithKline, Nestlé UK, Premier Foods, Tate & Lyle, Unilever and United Biscuits, agreed to cut their water use by 20 percent by 2020, reports the Financial Times. Along with agriculture, food and drink companies are the biggest industrial users of water, accounting for about 10 percent of water use in the UK’s industrial sector.
Water is gaining more attention as rainfall patterns have changed and as droughts and floods become more frequent, according to the article.
The companies involved, led by the Food and Drink Federation, will supply data on their water usage within the next three months to Envirowise, a government-funded body charged with helping businesses reduce their environmental impact. Within six months they must draw up plans on how to cut water wastage. They will then report on their annual use to Envirowise, which will judge whether they are making sufficient progress in water efficiency to meet the 2020 goal.
Hubert Patricot, managing director of Coca-Cola Enterprises, said the company had cut water waste by 41 percent since 2001. Mars Snackfood UK used 40 percent less water in 2007 than in 2006. A recent Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management report said that increased water reuse by industry would have a range of benefits and should be a vital part of achieving more sustainable water management in the UK.