Risks and opportunities [GRI 103-1]
According to the UN World Water Development Report (2020), the global use of water has increased six-fold since 1900. The following are some of the risks and opportunities that have been identified:
- The rise in the demand may cause a 40% deficit to the hydrological offer by 2030.
- Increased rainfall and extreme drought periods due to extreme phenomena caused by climate change, which will deteriorate water quality, increasing the risks associated with the agricultural and livestock production and adversely affecting the life of vulnerable communities.
- Implementing action measures jointly with the stakeholders to ensure savings, stewardship and respect for all water resources.
- Extending the achievements attained in the operations to the value chain and ensuring both the supply and quality of hydrological resources.
- Working collaboratively with strategic allies.
- Transferring knowledge and the progress achieved in terms of solutions based on nature itself through the alliances with stakeholders in both the operations and the value chain.
- Maintaining the 20% savings goal for the industrial operations in all geographies by 2030.
- Reducing by 10% the water footprint of the main commodities.
- Creating alliances for the implementation of leading practices in both meat and dairy livestock farming, coffee and cocoa plantations, as well as other commodities for the sustainable use of water.
- Water management in the value chain
The Cold Cuts Business conducted a diagnosis of 29 livestock ranches in Colombia based on the Handbook of strategic recommendations for environmental sustainability in the primary production of beef, which was created jointly with the WWF branch in Colombia. In addition, five integrated livestock ranches were granted the certification on good livestock practices (BPG-ICA) thanks to the protection and conservation of hydrological sources and to the sanitary and safety conditions for the primary production of bovine and bubaline cattle destined for slaughter for human consumption.
- Infrastructure improvement to reduce water loss in the Retail Food Business in Colombia
At the Chía production plant in Bogotá, Colombia, an aerial water ring was installed with the aim of correcting frequent leaks on the old underground network, which were inherently difficult to remedy. The new network has an online meter that allows saving 1.548 m3/year. The project entailed an investment of COP 141,5 million.
- Wastewater recirculation at the Biscuits Business’s production plant in Costa Rica
This initiative consists in the recirculation of wastewater treated by means of a tertiary ultrafiltration system that allows incorporating the water into the sanitary services and, thus, saving more than 2.200 m3/year of drinking water.
The Organization concludes a period of major challenges and learning. The 2010-2020 decade saw significant advancements in terms of knowledge on the industrial processes, the implementation of technologies and the mobilization of culture that, despite not being enough to fulfill the (-30%) savings goal, enabled achieving a notably close fulfillment of -33,3% with respect to 2010.
By 2019, the Company had already achieved its 30% reduction goal but in 2020, due to the need to address the COVID-19 emergency and to the production of water-intensive products, the consumption of water ended up increasing slightly.
Moreover, through the interaction with the stakeholders, particularly the suppliers, communities and the government, the Organization made progress in:
- Water stewardship at the supply sources.
- Identification and implementation of leading agricultural and livestock practices.
- Assessment of the risks of several production chains.
- Development of the methodology for pricing the social and environmental cost of the externalities associated with the water resources.
Management of the impact related to water disposal [GRI 303-2]
Water disposal is part of the Organization’s water footprint and, therefore, ensuring the quality and conservation of water resources by ensuring the water disposal quality is a major priority. The Company has determined, for all its operations, that complying with the legal dispositions in this regard is an indispensable minimum requirement, monitoring and establishing the level of compliance in order to bridge any gaps found.
Water quality and SDGs
Based on the guidelines of SDG 6, Water and sanitation, Grupo Nutresa makes the necessary investments to ensure wastewater treatment allows meeting the legal requirements and reducing the impact of water disposal on the hydrological sources. The following actions were carried out:
- At the Retail Food Business’s Llanogrande Mall production plant in Rionegro, Colombia, the waste water treatment plant was overhauled.
- The Chocolates Business in Peru optimized the WWTP with the aim of ensuring the quality of the treated water is well above the minimum limits allowed.
- The Cold Cuts Business completed multiple WWTP overhauling projects at the production plants in La Ceja, Bogotá and Aguachica, and at the La Genética and Porcinorte farms, all of them in Colombia.
- Adaptation of the treatment plants and evaluation of projects focused on recirculating the residual water treated at the Pastas Business’s production plants in Mosquera, the Retail Food Business’s production plants in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica, as well as at the Chocolates Business’s production plants in Colombia and Costa Rica.
- A total of COP 11.711,6 million invested by Grupo Nutresa in 2020 to improve the quality of the treated wastewater.
Regulation [GRI 303-1]
The World Economic Forum’s 2020 report on the global risks places the access-to-water crisis among the ten most significant risks by probability and impact. In response to the perception and the mitigation plans for this risk, the countries are introducing more stringent regulations. The study also mentions a major economic impact derived from water-related risks. On another note, the UN’s 2020 report “Water and Climate Change” states that hydrological resources act as a bond among agreements, alliances and international regulations that should materialize through the countries’ development and legislation plans.
Several regulatory changes were introduced in this country. The regulations of the environmental standard for water discharges, Decree 42128-MINAE-S, enacts the one-year extension for the deadlines assigned to utilization authorizations and discharge permits that expire in 2020 (Resolution R-0080-2020-MINAE, Ministry of Environment and Energy).
The Regulatory Policy on Access to Drinking Water and Wastewater Sanitation of the Costa Rican Regulatory Authority for Utilities –abbreviated Aresep in Spanish– (Agreement 11-80-2020 of October 9, 2020) reinforces the National Policy on access to water through the assurance of the supply of drinking water in optimal quality, reliability, timeliness and provision conditions, and through the treatment and disposal of wastewater, including both sewage and rainwater.
The Exempt Resolution DGA 1238 establishes the technical conditions and the nationwide schedule for installing and maintaining a system for monitoring and transferring effective extractions in underground water withdrawal works.
Water usage and conservation [GRI 303-1]
A Water resource savings Cold Cuts Business
The operation of the basket machine was improved with the installation of visual controls and solenoid valves for the inspection of the water filling process at the supply and draining spots, achieving water savings of more than 2.160 m³/year. Additionally, the water consumption standardization project for the final water-spraying process of the Alkar smoker reduced the amount of salt used in the production of wieners and, therefore, lowered the volume of water required for the entire process, thus saving more than 250 m3/year.
Opperar, La Recetta and the Cold Cuts and Ice Cream Businesses
Implementation of dry cleaning processes for their primary and secondary transport vehicle fleets, saving more than 1.000 m3/year of drinking water.
Retail Food Business in the Dominican Republic
Complete elimination of the use of hot water in the conveyor belt for ice pops, allowing savings of 430 m3 of water per year. For its part, in Costa Rica, the Business started reusing water from the homogenizer cooling process in the evaporative compressors, thus saving 99 m3 of water per month.
Chocolates Business in Costa Rica
4% water consumption reduction in relation to 2019 through monitoring measures, daily consumption measurement and the activation of the corresponding departments in charge to seek immediate solutions.
The Pastas Business completed the installation of the unified evaporation process that recirculates the treated water, allowing the production plant to become a zero-water-disposal facility. The objective is guaranteeing that 100% of the treated water is reused for sanitary services. A total of 525 m3 of water were evaporated, thus protecting the El Gualí wetland in Cundinamarca, Colombia, which is adjacent to the Business’s operation.
Water resources in the communities and in the value chain
The Cold Cuts Business made progress in a social-environmental project in the seven rural populations of the indigenous reservations near Toribío and Tacueyo in the Colombian state of Cauca, which includes the sustainable land use planning, an increase in silvopasture project planted areas, the strengthening of agroforestry systems, the protection of water springs and the passive restoration of native forests.
Dairy sector risk study
With advisory provided by the World Wildlife Fund, the Organization set in motion a study focused on identifying the sourcing risks of the dairy chain, including the risk associated with the management of water resources in Colombia and Costa Rica. The preliminary results show that the procedures and practices with a higher impact on the water-related risk are the handling of feces at ranches and milking and milk-collection stations, as well as the disposal of untreated wastewater and the contamination of water sources with agrochemical residue. The Organization will complete the assessment of these risks and formulate action plans intended to reduce the water footprint in this important production chain.