Water resource management




Recovered Water Treatment System for industrial services, Pastas Doria. Mosquera, Colombia.

Recovered Water Treatment System for industrial services, Pastas Doria. Mosquera, Colombia.


To reduce the direct and indirect impact on water resources throughout the value chain and mitigate the risks associated with shortages or deterioration in the quality of the resource, as an essential resource for the Company’s operations and for the local communities.

Strategy and Progress 2015

Strategy Progress 2015
Optimize water consumption in processes. ico_f_verde

Projects and processes that were developed allowed 7.7% reduction in water consumption per ton of product over 2014 and 22.1% cumulative reduction since 2010 for plants in Colombia. For operations in Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru and Chile was achieved in 2015 a reduction of 6.2%.


Water recovery from processes was optimized in Colombia, whereby a reuse level of 7.1%, equal to 101,320 m3, was achieved.

Reduce contamination through improved wastewater discharge. ico_f_verdeOscuro

We worked to optimize the operation of existing wastewater treatment plants; four plants were built in Colombia, two were refurbished and a new plant was built in Mexico.

Managing water resources in the value chain and promoting responsible use. ico_f_verdeA

During 2015 many collective activities were conducted. Such activities aimed to engage our communities in the commitment to a better water use.


Activities also aimed to engage meat, cocoa and coffee suppliers. To this purpose we counted on support from the Cuenca Verde Water Fund, the delosAndes Coffee Growers Cooperative and those Company areas related to the supply chain development.

Know the water footprint and the water risks of operations. ico_f_amarillo

A previous water footprint study for our businesses in Colombia was updated and its coverage was expanded to Chile. Although, in this country the water footprint was measured.

Implement water–pricing models to promote water efficiency projects. ico_f_naranja

A water–pricing model was prepared following international standards. The model aimed to increase financial return of water-related projects.

Risks and Opportunities

Life on Earth depends on the quality and quantity of water, factors that increasingly represent a major challenge regarding access, use and conservation. In addition to an increasing demand, border conflicts over water are accentuated; regulations toward its use and the quality of wastewater discharges strengthened to reduce impacts on the natural capital.

Changes in the availability and quality of water are identified as significant risks for Grupo Nutresa, as well as those aspects related to the competition for water accessibility, the emergence of restricted areas to establish production activities and the reduction in the availability of the resource caused by climate change.

In response, Grupo Nutresa established early action measures to mitigate water risks impact and to adapt to such changes. These measures are focused on reducing consumption in direct operations: risks evaluation, and estimation of water footprint throughout the value chain. collaborative work with suppliers and partners to reduce the effect on watersheds, establishing adaptation measures, reducing the impacts caused by wastewater discharges, and accountability to stakeholders.

Future Perspectives

In Grupo Nutresa, the management of water resources is essential to ensure sustainability of the Company and the related communities. For this reason, we foresee three challenges: adapting to a variable availability of water according to geographical conditions, reducing water consumption in direct operations and reducing the indirect water footprint from the value chain.

The study conducted to update the water risks assessment, allowed us to recognize the situation of 27 plants in the strategic region. From there, we will define a plan to mitigate these risks according to their intensity and probability of occurrence.
Also our businesses have prepared to comply with regulatory changes involving stricter wastewater quality parameters in Colombia in the next two years.

Similarly, we will continue to work at optimizing water consumption in order to reach our 2020 goal: reduce water use intensity by 30% compared to 2010. As marginal cost increases we should encourage innovative ways that offer solutions during the process and not at the end, to reduce consumption, a situation in which the water pricing model benefits financial evaluation of water efficiency projects.

Finally, we should face the challenge of water risk in the value chain if we want to address the 98% of the indirect water footprint, as well as continuing to work under a collective framework of action in the conservation of a common good.


2020 GOAL:

Remarkable Achievements

icono estrella calidad
Innovative ideas in the centralized sanitation system in the Cold Cut Business in Medellín, allowed a 50% reduction in water consumption –equal to 5,859 m3, a 220 kg reduction in cleaning chemicals and the contaminating load in the wastewater.

Collaborator at Colcafé extraction plant. Medellín, Colombia.

Collaborator at Colcafé extraction plant. Medellín, Colombia.


Another innovation project, used water–recirculation in the extraction process to obtain soluble coffee. The idea reduced the need to incorporate additional water in the process. We cut down the use of 21,471 m3 of water, representing one month of drinking water in the Coffee Business plant in Medellín.

Progress 2015

Grupo Nutresa’s water–management action is basedon its corporate policy and on the principles of the CEO Water Mandate guidelines that it has followed since joining the United Nations initiative in 2012.

Accordingly, the Organization has set targets to improve its environmental performance. Grupo Nutresa will reduce 30% of water consumption (m3/ton produced) by 2020, taking 2010 as the baseline. Results obtained during 2015 helped save 7.7%, for a 22.1% cumulative reduction from 2010–2015 for plants in Colombia. For operations in Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru and Chile reduction was 6.2% in 2015. Different projects implemented in the businesses, have allowed such a result. Furthermore, the promotion of culture habits, technological upgrading and modifications in some processes have added to this achievement.


Total water withdrawal by source G4-EN8 SDG 6


Percentage and total volume of water recycled and reused G4-EN10 SDG 6 SDG 8 SDG 10



The policy in water sustainability and related aspects focuses on the development and improvement of corporate and business performance, and it is based on these fundamental principles:

  1. Promote human rights to water, with particular emphasis on basic sanitation and access to potable water.
  2. Ensure efficient water management in direct operations, incorporating technological efficiency practices for use, reuse, recycling, reduced consumption and optimal treatment of discharges.
  3. Participate in watershed–management programs that are related to operations, encouraging projects to preserve ecosystems and biodiversity.
  4. Promote a culture that encourages businesses, employees and society to use water sustainably.
  5. Participate in public policy dialogues to promote actions aimed at water sustainability.
  6. Manage relationships with direct suppliers that encourage best practices in water management, benefits from relationships among parties, sharing acquired knowledge and experiences.


In order to incorporate water issues into the discussions and negotiations held in Paris, during the 2015 Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21), Grupo Nutresa accepted the invitation to be a signatory of the Business Alliance for Water and Climate Change. As part of this alliance, Grupo Nutresa is committed to advancing in the identification and socialization of its water risks, measure its water footprint and reduce its direct and indirect impacts on water throughout its value chain, aspects that make up its resource management strategy.

Also, during 2015, a projection exercise on environmental improvement initiatives was undertaken to gauge the investments and developments that would be involved to achieve our environmental goals by 2020. Our businesses identified the projects to reduce water consumption, reuse and treat wastewater. As a result, more than 21 initiatives were include in a database of projects to be analyzed and evaluated; the Organization must review, update and prioritize this roadmap and execute the most cost-effective.

For more information on the alliance, visit: https://wateractionhub.org/cop21-declaration/.

Waste water treatment plant, Pastas Doria. Mosquera, Colombia.

Waste water treatment plant, Pastas Doria. Mosquera, Colombia.


Grupo Nutresa recognizes the importance of a materiality analysis as a tool to define strategies to be implemented in the management of water resources and communication with stakeholders. Consequently, in 2015 it conducted its first materiality analysis of water resources. For this process, we applied the definition of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 reporting framework and the CEO Water Mandate Reporting Guide, where 17 issues grouped into nine material issues were identified.


To learn about the progress communication to the CEO Water Mandate, go to: http://www.gruponutresa.com/es/content/ceo-water-mandate-comunicacion-en-progreso-grupo-nutresa-2014.

Six Elements of the CEO Water Mandate

1 Direct Operations
2 Supply Chain and
Watershed Management
3 Collective Action
4 Public Policies
5 Community Participation
6 Transparency

Concessions, Sanitation and Wastewater Treatment
In order to anticipate the entry into force of new legislation on wastewater treatment, Grupo Nutresa is investing in its operations in Colombia to improve the quality of wastewater. Thus, in some of its plants, projects to optimize operations in the wastewater–treatment plants were carried out. In other places, plants were built, as in the case of the Ice Cream Business in Manizales, Pastas in Barranquilla and Coffee in Santa Marta. Noteworthy is the process to build the wastewater–treatment plant of the Cold Cut Business in Bogotá, which required an investment of COP 1,485 million and the implementation of an anaerobic system to remove the contaminating load in the Chocolate Business plant in Rionegro, with an investment of nearly COP 1.4 billion. This allowed one wastewater–treatment plants to enter into operation in 2015 in the Chocolate Business factory in Mexico.

Type of Treatment of Wastewaters G4-EN22 SDG 3 SDG 6 SDG 12 SDG 14

Waste water treatment plant of Ice Cream Business. Manizales, Colombia.

Waste water treatment plant of Ice Cream Business. Manizales, Colombia.


Moreover, all concessionary water catchments meet the requirements of environmental authorities regarding the amounts that may be extracted from each source. In this regard, the Organization does not significantly affect any of the sources that serve it. G4-EN9 SDG 6

Destination and quality of water discharge G4-EN22 SDG 3 SDG 6 SDG 12 SDG 14

  • Sewage Systems
  • Waterbodies

Use, Conservation and Availability of Water
Interested in knowing the possibility of water stress for the regions where our factories are placed, Grupo Nutresa used the Global Water Tool (GWT) from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which identifies water risks and opportunities, using global data from the principal watersheds. Likewise, the Company applied the World Resources Institute (WRI) Aqueduct Global Water Risk Mapping Tool, which allows companies, investors, governments and other users to understand where and how water risks and opportunities are emerging worldwide. These tools were applied for the Chocolate plants in Mexico and Peru, the Biscuit plant in Costa Rica, and Tresmontes Lucchetti in Chile.

The GWT results for the analysis of basins, identified stress conditions in two plants: Tresmontes Lucchetti in Santiago de Chile and the Chocolate plant in Mexico City. There are conditions of scarcity for three Tresmontes Lucchetti plants in Chile: two in Valapraíso and one in Casablanca; there is also extreme scarcity in the Chocolate plant in Lima, Peru. Analysis showed the same trend for the water availability in 2025. In order to compare results, a second study was carried out. The modeling results with the WTI Aqueduct also evidenced water stress for the plants analyzed.

This analysis of physical water risks was complemented with an exhaustive review of the regulatory and reputational water risks for Chile and Colombia, which yielded a broader panorama of the impacts to which the Organization’s operations may be exposed.

Although it identified areas in Colombia with an average degree of fragility of the water system, such as the Río Bogotá basin and the lower Magdalena River basin, as well as areas with a high degree of fragility, such as the region of Río Piedras and Río Manzanares in Santa Marta, Río Palo in Caloto, and Río Guadalajara and Río San Pedro in Buga. The review found no significant risks related to regulatory aspects that compromise access to water by Grupo Nutresa’s operations.

For Chile, in addition to the physical risks already described, there is no evidence of situations related to risks for conflict over water or for regulatory matters that could compromise access to the resource for operations.

Water used to obtain our raw materials.

Water that we add to processes, that evaporates in the processes, or that is needed to dilute contaminants, maintaining water quality.


Surface or subterranean water used in processes and that evaporates or is incorporated in a product.


Rainwater incorporated into crops and stored in the soil as humidity.

Grey Water Footprint:

Water required to dilute contaminants from a watershed to achieve the quality required by local regulations.


Sustainable microsystem composed of an artifical lake. The lake water is used as the source for industrial process, receive treatment and are discharged to natural waters with better conditions than from origen. Novaventa Plant, El Carmen de Viboral, Colombia.

Sustainable microsystem composed of an artifical lake. The lake water is used as the source for industrial process, receive treatment and are discharged to natural waters with better conditions than from origen. Novaventa Plant, El Carmen de Viboral, Colombia.


Risk identification served as input to develop an analysis tool to approximate a real value for water resources, including costs associated with wastewater treatment and the costs of contamination and infrastructure demanded to remove the organic load and achieve wastewater parameters. During 2015, a model based on a real price of water was developed; we expect to launch it in 2016 and it will allow Grupo Nutresa to improve assessment of economic return on its environmental investments, as well as warn about the varying impact of conditions of availability and quality in its different operations.

Water Management in the Value Chainr
Through the Coffee, Chocolate and Cold Cut Businesses, Grupo Nutresa presents some progress in water management in the value chain.

icn_cafesCafés Nutresa

Water consumption in traditional coffee processing is between 30 and 40 liters of water per kilogram produced. To reduce the impact on water resources, the Coffee Business conducted a joint project to build a processing plant with the delosAndres Coffee Growers Cooperative, in the Department of Antioquia. It is estimated that this plant, which will begin operations in the first semestre of 2016, will save 25 million liters of water per year.

Chocolates Nutresa

Improving yields per hectare (ha) by up to 70% in cocoa production (increasing yields from 1.050 kg/ha–year to some 1.050 kg/ha–year) has yielded higher production with the same amount of water, thus increasing water efficiency and contributing to the reduction of the indirect water footprint.

Cárnicos Nutresa

The Business has its own and outsourced pig farms. With support from the Cuenca Verde Water Fund, it developed a process to involve hog producers located in watersheds. The intervention consisted of developing awareness in the community, enriching births, isolating slope forests, reforesting riverbanks with native species, building septic tanks and bridges for the passage of cattle.