Water is our most precious ingredient and is coming under increasing pressure across our markets. It is essential to our production process and used widely throughout our value chain. Managing our impact on water, and protecting this precious resource, is a critical priority for us.
Our approach to managing our water focuses on three key areas:
- Water withdrawal - Reducing the amount of water we withdraw from water sources, including boreholes and municipal supplies, and improving water efficiency to make the water we use go further.
- Water effluent - We release water back to the environment and take careful measures to ensure it meets stringent quality standards, protecting our natural water courses.
- Water in our supply chain - Water scarcity is a threat we take seriously and have been working to understand which of our sourcing regions are at greatest risk and increasing our dialogue with suppliers accordingly.
In 2021, we launched our partnership with The Rivers Trust to protect Britain’s waterways.
We’ll be working with our local rivers trusts to take practical action and improve the quality of waterways near our production sites. This activity will include:
- Britvic’s Leeds factory and The Aire Rivers Trust working together to improve biodiversity near the site.
- Britvic’s Rugby factory and Severn Rivers Trust working together on a range of conservation projects including tree planting and wetland and meadow creation.
- Britvic’s Beckton factory in London working with rivers trust Thames 21 to help restore 1.2km of the River Roding near Wanstead Park.
We take our responsibility for water management seriously and we are always looking to improve our water stewardship.
In 2023, our water ratio increased by 2.05% compared to last year, meaning we are using more water to produce a litre of product. We are cleaning our lines more frequently because we’re producing an increased number of products on each line. For example, we’ve moved more products into can formats alongside bottles, such as Lipton Ice Tea. We’re also manufacturing more products on our clean-fill and aseptic lines, which means we can produce more drinks with no need for preservatives but the lines require more water. One-off events such as new line commissions, insourcing previously outsourced production, and, unfortunately, on-site leaks have also contributed to the increase.
As a company we are far from satisfied with this result. To address all this we are investing in improved telemetry which will allow us to understand water use at a more detailed level, specifically where we use it and where we lose it. Across our sites, cleaning between production runs remains one of the biggest uses of water. We have focused on optimisation projects to shorten rinse times and reduce water used per clean. Where possible, we are capturing water we have already used for cleaning and using it a second time – for example, to flush our on site toilets.
In Great Britain we continue our partnership with The Rivers Trust. This year employees have continued to volunteer to improve local waterways. At the River Roding, close to our Beckton site, teams have managed vegetation along the banks and built barriers to drive natural water flow.
We have also part-funded two wetland restoration projects, close to our Beckton and Leeds factories, which are now in the design phases. We’re seeking planning permission from local councils to enable construction early next year.