IMPROVING WATER EFFICIENCY ACROSS OUR BUSINESS AND IN THE REGIONS WE OPERATE
Positive Water Impact
Water is fundamental to our food system and to our business as agriculture accounts for around 70% of global water usage. Water nourishes the crops used to make our products, is the main ingredient in many of our beverages and is an integral component of our manufacturing operations.
But in some regions water is scarce, and climate change is worsening pressures on water resources around the globe. Estimates indicate that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in water-stressed regions. As well as taking action in our own value chain, we aim to use our expertise and influence to advocate for the local policies and practices that can protect and replenish watersheds.
Our UK story
Using data to reduce water usage
Since 2011 we’ve halved the amount of water used on potatoes grown for Walkers crisps. Our water conservation journey started with our 50 in 5 programme which aimed to decrease our water usage in water-stressed areas across the UK such as East Anglia.
In partnership with Cambridge University, we developed iCrop – an innovative system of sensors which allow our farmers to measure the moisture levels in soil and track this against weather reports. Using this data our farmers can judge exactly when to water their crops and how much water is needed. This reduces water waste, saves money, and produces more crop per drop of water.
Since 2011 we’ve also instigated drip irrigation trials where our farmers achieved an average reduction of 41% in applied water versus conventional rain gun irrigation methods.
Decreasing water used in manufacturing
Across our manufacturing sites we’ve achieved a 5% improvement in our water-use efficiency rate for every unit we produced in 2018 vs. 2015.
This was achieved through a number of initiatives including recycling the water used in potato processing to reduce the amount of fresh water used.
Another step in continuing this journey is our latest innovation Splash Cone. A simple design tweak, developed in our Leicester plant, which has enabled us to improve the distribution of water during the potato slicing process, annually saving over 640 million litres of water globally.