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Nestlé helps to develop water and sanitation pledge for business

Person washing their hands.
DIRECT ACTION: Businesses pledge to provide clean water and sanitation to employees in their direct operations.

Nestlé is one of the first signatories of a new pledge drawn up by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) that commits businesses to upholding the human right to water and sanitation within their operations.

The pledge for ‘Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Implementation at the Workplace’ (WASH) challenges companies to provide access to safe water and sanitation, and appropriate facilities to ensure personal hygiene, to employees in all premises in their direct control, within three years of signing.

In the longer-term, companies will be encouraged to set a leadership example to other businesses and stakeholders, by moving from implementing these actions in their own premises to advocating for the same commitment across their value chains, including in employee homes, local communities and among their suppliers.

Nestlé will join representatives from the WBCSD, the United Nations and the plastics company Borealis to present the WASH pledge tomorrow at this year’s World Water Week event in Stockholm.

Nestlé has started to pilot and test within its operations a new self-assessment tool that businesses signing the pledge can use to analyse the facilities they currently provide and make improvements where necessary.

Reiterating promise

“We already commit to providing access to clean water to our employees at all of our direct operations, including our 468 factories worldwide, as part of our existing commitment on water stewardship,” said Carlo Galli, Technical and Strategic Advisor for Water Resources, Nestlé.

“By signing the WASH pledge, we are reaffirming this commitment and our recognition of our responsibilities as manufacturer and employer”.

“We hope that together with the other companies that have already signed up, we can encourage more businesses to do the same.”

Monitor progress

The companies that have signed the WASH pledge alongside Nestlé and Borealis are: Deloitte LLP, EDF, Greif, Hindustan Construction Company, Roche Group, and Unilever.

The WBCSD will document the companies’ progress and, where possible, will offer support to help them honour the commitment.

“Today, millions of people are still without access to safe drinking water and billions lack access to adequate sanitation,” said Peter Bakker, President, WBCSD.

“There is a compelling and clear economic case for businesses to demonstrate leadership in addressing this social imperative and one of the most pressing socio-economic challenges of our times.

“The WASH pledge is a direct and tangible contribution they can make to this.”

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