Water & Manufacturing

Many times organizations focus on new and emerging technologies as solutions to reduce both water and energy consumption in their own and their supplier manufacturing facilities.  At the Duke Center for Sustainability & Commerce our researchers and students also continually explore ways to create technological innovations.  However, in working with firms around the globe it is clear that the most effective means to reduce water consumption and costs is through coupling technology with a strategy of engagement with key stakeholders including employees, suppliers and even other manufacturing organizations.  

Consider Nestle.  Their factory in La Penilla, Spain was able to achieve an almost two-thirds reduction in waster consumption in twelve months. The chocolate and infant formula factory was using almost 72 cubic meters of water per tonne of product.  Some of the steps taken included more effective regulating the flow of water through condensers of the milk evaporators.  This led to a simple reduction of more than 1,000,000 cubic metres of water per year or 400 Olympic swimming pools. Nestle also made the technology investment by installing new cooling towers which led to a twenty five percent reduction in water consumption. 

In large part this effort was as a result of a clear and well defined corporate strategy regarding Nestlé’s commitment to Water Stewardship and the empowerment of its employees to create innovations to achieve water conservation success.