Water efficiency is important in every aspect of the supply chain in the beverage manufacturing process. Water is used not only as an ingredient in beverages but also used in the cultivation additional ingredients, manufacturing processes, packaging, and transportation—all of which contribute to the total water footprint of the end product.
In most cases, beverage manufacturers only have the ability to control the water used at the industrial level of the supply chain, such as water used at the manufacturing and bottling facilities. Inversely, beverage companies have little to no control over water used by third-party suppliers, including the farmers growing sugarcane and other beverage ingredients. Manufacturers may have little to no interaction at all with the individual farmers or co-operatives supplying raw ingredients, therefore have limited influence in their water efficiency efforts.
Water is also used in the production of various non-agricultural materials used as beverage ingredients, like sweeteners and packaging materials. Water used to produce these materials as well as water used to transport, store, sell and eventually dispose of the final product are also often outside the manufacturer’s scope of influence.
With so much of the water used in the product supply chain managed by third parties, it is imperative beverage manufacturers implement water efficiency programs in the facilities they themselves manage. The sustainable use of water in manufacturing and bottling plants will not only reduce the water footprint of the final product and conserve a precious natural resource, but a water efficiency program may also facility reduce costs due to the decreasing supply and increasing demand for industrial water.
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