Fresh water is a vital resource for growing fruit and vegetables. It is also a crucial element in our production processes at Greenyard Prepared and Frozen, where we use if to wash, process
and preserve our products. Within our Fresh division, we use water to wash fresh cut vegetables and salads which we use in our convenience products.
And even if fruit and vegetables have a relatively low water footprint compared to many other food categories, we are very conscious of the value of fresh and good quality water and strive to reduce consumption and mitigate risks every way we can – not only in our own operations, but all through the value chain.
Greenyard regularly reviews water-related risks for all its processing sites, using the WWF Water Risk Filter. About 3% of Greenyard water withdrawals are from areas with a moderate depletion risk. The site depends for 90% on municipal (drinking) water and 10% on groundwater. Other sites are located in areas with very limited or low depletion risk.
At Greenyard, we are committed to reduce our water consumption every year. Key metric is the water intensity of our processed products. We also measure water consumption and water discharge at all of our sites. The insights are used to set annual reduction targets and identify key initiatives to achieve them. Constant monitoring ensures the quality of water effluent discharge is always in line with the standards of local regulations and permits.
We acknowledge our responsibility to safeguard sustainable water use throughout our supply chain. 24% of fruit and vegetable volumes sourced by Greenyard originate from countries with a water depletion score >3 (WWF Water Risk Filter). The proportion remains stable in line with the product basket in which we offer our customers year-round sourcing from diverse origins. We seek to support growers to work more efficiently and assist with certification where needed.
This year, Greenyard consumed 4.78 million m³ water in our own operations, an increase of 6% largely caused by the exceptional sales growth (10%) and the water-intensive Frozen and Prepared divisions being confronted with stockpiling of frozen and canned products during subsequent lockdowns. Nevertheless, water intensity in these divisions decreased by 2%, mainly as a result of water-efficiency improvements in our processes and investments to reuse water. Relatively clean waterflows are treated and cleaned in a controlled loop which enables us to reuse it in specific parts of our processes.
Greenyard has committed to map the water risk for its entire grower base by 2025. This year the focus was on the Frozen and Prepared divisions, along with a major Fresh business entity. Together they represent 46% of our sourced volumes. We expect to map the water risk for 80 to 90% of our sourced volumes by 2022 to reach 100% by 2025.
For better transparency, we have been disclosing our water-related risks and impact under the terms of the CDP (water security) since 2020. We were pleased to achieve a B- score in our first year of participation.
Beyond our commitment to map the water risk for our entire grower base by 2025, we aim to further reduce the water-intensity in our processing sites through continued water-efficiency investments and increased wastewater treatment. We aim to further reduce water-intensity in our Frozen and Prepared divisions by 10% by 2025 (compared to 2019). At the processing site which is located in an area with water stress, trials are ongoing with a view to install an innovative wastewater treatment plant which would allow the reuse of processing water flows and reduce the need for water withdrawals.