Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) proclaimed that its Ontario, California water bottling site, because of its elite performance in water stewardship and community engagement, became the first food and beverage factory in the world to attain Platinum certification under the rigorous Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard. Also, Nestlé Waters became the primary company of any kind to attain this advanced certification in North America.

Under the meticulous water standards of AWS, all the five Nestlé Waters factories of California and all the seven Arrowhead® Brand 100% Natural Mountain Spring Water factories are validated.

The AWS Standard is the very first overarching and universal standard to measure the accountable water stewardship across environmental, economic, cultural and social benchmarks. To carry out the AWS certification process efficiently, independent auditors consider various factors such as water quantity, water quality and the health of major water-related areas within the watersheds where sites are situated.

Some pre-requisites for identifying opportunities and ensuring that the water stewardship actions are advantageous to local communities include- Extensive engagement with vital water-related stakeholders, such as NGOs, water agencies, community members and public officials. To acquire the Platinum rating means to exceed the specifications of the core AWS and to have a notable and pragmatic regional impacts. Independent auditors from the Californian SCS Global Services confirmed that the measures taken by the Ontario site exhibit the best implementation and undoubtedly the most advanced efforts.

Director for AWS North America, Matt Howard excitedly proclaimed- “Nestlé Waters North America’s (NWNA) Ontario AWS Platinum certification is reflective of the site’s commitment to meet the highest standards of water stewardship. This re-certification includes the factory’s continued focus on water stewardship onsite and at spring sources. In addition, this advanced-level of certification reflects the positive contributions NWNA has made to the people, economy and nature in the catchment. We are excited to finally have an AWS Platinum-certified site here in North America.”

The propelling-factor behind the Ontario factory’s extensive history of managing for long-term sustainability, fostering community engagement, and collecting and sharing data is unequivocally the NWNA’s commitment to and leadership in water stewardship. NWNA’s participation in the California Water Action Collaborative’s (CWAC) work to improve California’s water security is one of the several steps taken in this regard.

NWNA helped to start up the baselines for choosing and assessing the project, jointly worked on watershed restoration projects, and handed out Ontario AWS data to assist efforts to define norms for defining context-based water targets with the Pacific Institute and CEO Water Mandate. NWNA, as a part of the Arrowhead Spring Special Use Permit issued in 2018, served in close communion with the United States Forest Service to frame an Adaptive Management Plan (AMP), established on the basis of local and regional conditions. AMP provides transparent, science-based data upon victorious execution that can be utilized for formulating informed water governance decisions in the National Forest of San Bernardino and further.

David Tulauskas, Chief Sustainability Officer at NWNA pronounced- “We are extremely proud that our Ontario facility is the first food and beverage factory in the world to achieve AWS Platinum certification, globally recognized as the most rigorous water stewardship standard for businesses to meet.” He added- “It attests to the years of our community-first approach and the effort we have put into several water stewardship initiatives in California – on our own and as part of collective actions. We are now focussing to achieve platinum-level certification at more of our sites, and encourage others in our industry and beyond for the same.”

Ontario’s AWS Platinum certification looks for the site’s positive and healthy contribution to the locale, including best practice instances of the site’s community commitment, execution of efforts to provide water education, taking part in water, sanitation and health (WASH) education outreach, and providing water funding to local food banks and emergency relief endeavours. Representatives from the Ontario factory frequently meet the local officials, administrators and stakeholders to talk over mutual water challenges and frame the best possible practices in water stewardship. Collaboration with a water agency to enhance the durability of the local water supply became possible because of these serious meetings. The site has been taking part in the collaborative actions with the Cucamonga Valley Water District (CVWD) since 2016 to treat adulterated groundwater thus making the district able to generate up to 250 million gallons of potable water annually for the public.

“The Cucamonga Valley Water District is committed to providing for the requirements of our community and securing a reliable water supply, now and in the future,” stated CVWD General Manager, John Bosler. “A significant piece of that is stewardship of natural resources gained through an extraordinary game-plan and novel technologies. Nestlé Waters believes in the same vision, and they have exemplified their allegiance to water stewardship in numerous ways such as improving local water supplies. The achievement of Platinum-level certification is a tribute to the hard work and outstanding results achieved by NWNA Ontario’s efforts.”

All AWS execution attempts largely depend on recognizing the stakeholder interests, which aids to highlight the important possibilities, and to initiate an appropriate water stewardship plan that includes those interests. These efforts are more prominent when applying for an advanced-level certification. When a site executes water stewardship activities (such as habitat restoration or data gathering efforts) and unveils the results of water stewardship efforts, it is vital to obtain honest stakeholder feedback in relation to the actions and impacts. Progressing advancements can be accomplished only through an open dialogue between parties build on mutual faith.

“It’s great to see NWNA demonstrating what good water stewardship looks like in practice with their industry-leading AWS Platinum certification,” declared Jason Morrison, Head of the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate. “Nestlé was one of the co-founders of the CEO Water Mandate over a decade ago, and has been a great partner in the intervening years. We look forward to work locally with the Ontario NWNA site to leverage AWS-related efforts for future collective action projects that will benefit the catchment and beyond.”
Nestlé Waters took oath in 2018 to validate each and every water bottling sites of it by 2025.

The company has ratified thirty sites around the world until now out of which 10 are situated in the United States. All of NWNA’s California factories, including Ontario, Livermore, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Cabazon have been certified under the AWS Standard in the U.S. till now, and these sites are now getting recertified under v2.0 of the AWS Standard.

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