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 influence 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. Still, we do face some challenges concerning water quantity and quality risks in certain geographies. However, we acknowledge that water scarcity is a global challenge that we need to address.

The most water-intensive business at Huhtamaki is manufacturing 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.

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 that 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 2023, we have revised the water management plans at our sites and begun working on our Water Stewardship & Water Goal. We intensified our efforts to better understand our water risk, with a catchment vulnerability assessment at seven sites marked by extremely high water risk. The assessment encompassed an evaluation of overall business risk, considering supply quantity and quality, and examining local municipal infrastructure, regulations, and governance.

The new water-related goals developed in 2023 included improving water monitoring and measurement capability, reducing water intensity in our operations, and exploring watershed projects for high water-stressed areas. The development of more detailed water targets related to these goals will continue in 2024.

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 2023 Sustainability Report.

*An area is considered “water-stressed” when the ratio of total water withdrawals to available renewable surface and groundwater supplies is high or extremely high.