Ensuring responsible water management
At Huhtamaki, we care for water as a valuable natural resource, indispensable for food, people and the planet. Acknowledging the human right to water and sanitation, we focus on managing and mitigating our impact on water resources.
Our water footprint
Even though our food packaging manufacturing units have relatively low water intensity compared to other industries in the food value chain, we are aware of the risk exposures related to water that could have an effect on or cause disruption in our production capacity or have an impact on the surrounding communities.
In most of the geographies we operate in, water resources do not face any significant stress, but we do face some challenges with regards to water quantity and quality risks in certain geographies. However, we acknowledge that water scarcity is a global challenge and that, as an advanced manufacturer of sustainable packaging solutions, we need to address this.
The most water-intensive business at Huhtamaki is the manufacturing of molded fiber packaging, where water plays a key role in pulping the recycled fiber before further processing. We have efficient water re-circulation systems in place at these manufacturing units. Process water is purified by our own or by municipal treatment plants before being discharged, hence the impact of our operations on the downstream water quality is negligible or very limited. In other operations, water is mostly used for sanitation and hygiene purposes (e.g. canteens, toilets, showers), and for the cooling and cleaning of the facilities.
Delivering on our commitment to water management is essential for us
We conduct water risk mapping annually, using the widely-recognized Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas provided by the World Resource Institute (WRI) to determine some of the water-related risks of our manufacturing units and fiber supply plants. In 2022, we concluded that, during 2022, 26 (23) of our operating locations were in areas classified as water-stressed.
Water is a key aspect addressed by our environmental policy. The policy states our commitment to align our practices with water stewardship and the principles of circular water management. The foundation of our water stewardship lies in the comprehensive implementation of site-specific water management plans (WMPs) for all our sites. A water management plan is a site-owned management system which is documented and maintained continuously. When initiating the plan, each site conducts a water-related risk and opportunity assessment, using a method harmonized at the corporate level. Based on the results obtained, objectives and targets are set and the necessary performance indicators and control and monitoring metrics that facilitate the follow-up and identification of improvement areas are put in place.
In 2022, we reached our goal to have water management plans in place at all of our sites. Since then, we have begun setting corporate water goals and targets and have also included the KPI for water intensity in our Global Sustainability Index, which links our sustainability performance to short-term incentives.
The new water goals will include improving water monitoring and measurement capability, reducing water intensity in our operations and exploring watershed projects for high water stressed areas.
Read more about our water management in the Sustainability Performance supplement in the 2022 Sustainability Report.