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Nestle Waters North America Issues First Corporate Citizenship Report

Nestle Waters, the largest bottled water company in North America, says the redesign of its half-liter bottle will cut the company's use of plastic by 140 million pounds and help it avoid 260,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Projected environmental benefits from the introduction of the Eco-Shape bottle in 2007 — such as the estimated savings above that cover the current and prior fiscal year — are detailed in Nestle Waters' first corporate citizenship report, which was released October 23.

The 44-page report, called "The Shape of Citizenship," highlights the company's efforts to be more more environmentally friendly in its use of water and energy and in packaging, production and transportation.

The report includes a snapshot of the environmental metrics used at the company's 24 plants in the U.S. and Canada and charts nine key performance indicators over a three-year period.

For example, the company reported that while use of water and electricity and GHG emissions rose in the three years spanning 2005 through 2007, intensity dropped in each category.

In 2005, it took 1.41 liters of water to produce a liter of bottled water. By 2007, the process required 1.37 liters. Energy use went from .086 kWh per liter in 2005 to .084 per liter in 2007. GHG emissions were .0041 kg per liter in 2005 and .0036 kg per liter in 2007. The company also said its recycling of solid waste rose almost 29 percent from 14,737 tons in 2005 to 18,946 tons in 2007.

In its report, the firm set goals to double recycling of PET bottles by bringing the recycling rate to 60 percent by 2018, to make its bottles with as much as 25 percent recycled PET by 2013, and to develop a bottle made from 100 percent recycled material by 2020.

The company said its goals include reducing its carbon intensity by 20 percent throughout its value chain by 2013. The firm also intends to build all new plants to meet the green standards for LEED certification.

In a letter to stakeholders that opens the report, CEO and President Kim Jeffery enumerated his company's eco-friendly measures, its $4.26 billion in sales for 2007 and the 30 percent market share that enables the firm to rank No. 1 in the bottled water industry. He also acknowledged the sea change in the public's view of bottled water.

"As you are probably aware, over the past 12 months news coverage of corporate environmental activities and impacts has exploded, and our company has found itself on the front lines of society's emerging dialogue on sustainability," Jeffery wrote.

"I believe that Nestle Waters today has the lightest environmental footprint per unit of product of any packaged beverage company in North America. But society's evolving expectations have encouraged us to work with our stakeholders and reach for an even deeper level of sustainability across our entire value chain."

Jeffery's comments were reflected in sales figures that parent firm Nestle SA released the same day in Switzerland. Although overall sales for the first nine months of the year exceeded market forecasts, sales were down for the water division of the largest food company in the world. Water sales dropped 3.2 percent to 7.6 billion Swiss francs during the first nine months of the year as the marketplace turned to tap water amid growing environmental concerns and a protracted economic downturn.

Nestle Waters North America's brands include Arrowhead, Calistoga, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Nestle Pure Life (purified water), Ozarka, Poland Spring and Zephyrhills. It also imports Acqua Panna, Contrex, Perrier and S. Pellegrino.

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