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Dairies Pledge to Cut Water Use

Dairy UK has signed an agreement with the Waste and Resources Action Programme to cut the dairy industry’s water use and improve its water management.

The agreement between the trade association and WRAP makes Dairy UK an official partner to the Federation House Commitment, a voluntary commitment for food and drink manufacturers administered by WRAP. This contributes to a wider UK food and drink industry sector target to reduce water use by 20 percent by 2020, compared to a 2007 baseline.

The FHC asks participants to develop water reduction plans, gives them access to expert advice and site visits, and requires them to submit data to demonstrate progress made each year.

Dairy UK members that have signed on to the FHC are: Arla Foods, BV Dairy, Dairy Crest, First Milk and Müller UK companies Müller Dairy and Müller Wiseman Dairies.

Dairy UK director Jim Begg says the partnership builds upon the water-reduction targets already set by the industry’s Dairy Roadmap, which calls on milk processors to cut water use by 30 percent by 2020 compared to a 2008 baseline.

According to WRAP, between 2007 and 2011 FHC signatories collectively made a 14.4 percent reduction in their water use, excluding that in product, while production increased by 10.7 percent. Over that time, signatories reduced their water use per ton of product, excluding in-product water, by 22.7 percent.

Launched in 2007, the FHC’s other signatories include the UK arms of Heinz, Kraft and Coca-Cola.

In recent US dairy news, Dean Foods’ water use intensity dropped almost 4.5 percent year-on-year, from 1.4992 gallons of water used per gallon of product in 2010 to 1.4330 in 2011, according to the dairy company’s latest sustainability report. The company’s absolute water use dropped 6 percent over the course of the year, from 5.2 billion gallons in 2010 to 4.9 billion gallons in 2011.

A May 2012 report by business data research center Global Water Intelligence says the global water technology market in the food and beverage sector is set to almost double in size by 2020 as concerns over water scarcity increase.

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