Conserving water saves food firms £2m in 2012

26th July 2013

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Bernard Matthews, Nestlé and Warburtons are among UK companies which saved a total of £2.2 million last year after signing a voluntary agreement to cut water use

According to the latest data from Wrap, food and drink manufacturers signed up to the Federation House Commitment cut their water use by 1.5 million cubic metres in 2012, reducing associated costs more than £2 million.

Since the initiative’s launch in 2008, the signatories, which now represent around 25% of the UK’s food and drink sector, have reduced the amount of water consumed by their operations each year by 16.1%.

At the same time production levels have risen by more than 6%, resulting in an overall reduction in water intensity of 20.9% per tonne of product over the five years.

“By bringing the industry together through the Federation House Commitment we are able to help achieve collective action which has seen significant financial and environmental savings,” said Richard Swannell, director of Wrap.

“The actions of signatories are making a considerable contribution towards meeting the whole industry target of a 20% reduction in water use by 2020.”

Andrew Kuyk, director of sustainability at the Food and Drink Federation, which partnered with Wrap to create the scheme, confirmed: “The commitment is central to our efforts to help members achieve the water savings which are vital for their businesses, for the environment and for the communities in which they operate.”

By signing the commitment companies pledge to review water use at their facilities and, within six months, develop plans to deploy water saving measures such as installing more water efficient technologies or changing production processes. Each year firms must then review and update their action plans and provide data on water savings.

Members of the scheme include fruit and salad producer Natures Way Foods which has cut water use at its three factories by improving its water monitoring systems; repairing equipment and reducing pressure in water distribution systems. Overall the company has reduced water consumption by 20% on 2007 levels, resulting in annual cost savings of more than £65,000.

Catering supplier Brakes, meanwhile, has cut water use at its M&J Seafood factory in Grimsby by 45% while increasing output 12.5% since 2010. The savings were achieved, in the main, by reviewing and redesigning its cleaning processes.

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