Preserving water is the industry's duty

Stuart Ballinger

Strategies manager, Envirowise

Sir; As an industry that uses an estimated 690 mega litres of water every day, the food and drink sector should exert a huge influence over water efficiency in this country ('Crops feel the heat as water is diverted to urban centres', The Grocer, 2 February, p6). Widespread flooding last year clearly showed how the availability of water could have a huge impact on businesses, particularly for those that rely on public supply or use large quantities for processing. However, with 2008 starting out on an uneven financial footing, optimising a key business process such as water management may not be at the top of many agendas. When faced with rising costs and continued climate extremes, we should recognise there is strength in numbers. Taking collective responsibility for preserving water is a crucial step. Last month, 21 food and drink manufacturers signed the Federation House Commitment to work towards improving water efficiency. The leadership they have provided should act as a catalyst for other companies in the sector to take action. Large and small companies are involved and we expect more to join up. The launch of the Federation House Commitment is just the start. Momentum is now building and together the industry could achieve results that will impact balance sheets as well as help mitigate climate risks.