GRI 300 Environmental

GRI 303: Water

UNGC Principles
SDG Goal
Clean Water and Sanitation
Responsible Consumption and Production
Partners for Goals
GRI 103-1

Explanation of the material topic and its boundary

Water is an essential element in our production activities as well as in our entire value chain – increasing competition for access to water in areas where availability is limited due to climate change is then a significant risk.

We therefore need to use water efficiently to keep our operations running, but also to satisfy consumer demand for products that are produced in a water-efficient way. We look to make efficient use of water and limit the environmental impact of our consumption and discharge of this increasingly precious natural resource. We expect suppliers to do the same.

GRI 103-2, 103-3

Management approach

Givaudan is striving to be an industry leader in water conservation and stewardship. We are looking to consume this increasingly precious natural resource in a socially equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically beneficial way.

Our overall strategy for monitoring and reducing water consumption is embodied in our Water Stewardship Programme, which is also used to guide our growth strategy in terms of location, technology and procedures to ensure water risks are managed and monitored. We put emphasis on places where water stress is expected, carrying out detailed risk assessments to develop water mitigation action plans including efficiency improvements and water reuse opportunities.

Our actions already include reducing water withdrawal, recycling water and making use of other sources such as rainwater. Some approaches have included switching processes that currently use municipal water to our existing cooling tower loop, meaning we reduced the amount of municipal water required for cooling. Another is the installation of automatic valves to manage water needed for purging product dust from the recirculating scrubber water. These are just a few of the many water-saving initiatives ongoing at Givaudan sites worldwide, from on-site biological treatment of waste water and subsequent reuse in the Netherlands to rainwater harvesting in India.

We also work with key suppliers and help them manage their own environmental footprints by asking them to report water use, risks and management strategy including targets and actions that they are taking to reduce their impact. We use this collected information to create partnerships that contribute to our Water Stewardship Programme. We work with local communities through our Communities at Source programme to help them find solutions for improving water and sanitation management.

We continue to show good progress after reaching our target to reduce global water consumption per tonne of production by 15% by 2020 three years in advance. We are still in the process of assessing a new target and will publish it soon.

Water risk assessment

To get a more detailed picture, we carry out a periodic corporate water risk assessment. This allows us to identify relevant exposures and perform analysis specifically related to the watershed-level context. This process applies to both operations and to the supply chain because they are the most material stages of our value chain in terms of water consumption.

Assessment for operations
This water risk assessment includes all Givaudan production facilities and takes into account six indicators from two water risk mapping tools – the Water Risk Filter and WRI Aquaduct – covering physical, regulation and reputation risk aspects. We use internal knowledge as well as criteria linked to production volume and risks in terms of water withdrawal to prioritise the facilities.

Assessment for supply chain
We use a metric-based methodology to characterise our corporate water footprint based on ISO 14046. This allows us to identify hot spots in our main product supply chain and gives us a clear understanding of the risks and impacts encountered. It allows us to:

  • quantify the total water consumption of our activities, taking into consideration the whole value chain from raw materials extraction to product use and end-of-life;
  • quantify the water scarcity footprint to highlight water consumption located in water stressed areas along the value chain;
  • provide a detailed breakdown of the water footprint to identify main contributors;
  • identify water hotspots and physical water risks along the value chain.

This assessment allows us to set priorities for reducing water use and develop a mitigation plan.

Progress 2019

This year, we decreased water intensity by 28.4% since the baseline year 2009. This corresponds to a 4.8% decrease in water intensity since 2018. Givaudan is recognised for its leadership in water security by CDP with the highest ‘A’ score. This recognition follows a leadership score for climate action and places the Company in the double ‘A’ category of best performing businesses in terms of mitigating environmental impact. We also participated in the CDP Supply Chain assessment for water. Our supplier response rate this year was 55%, up from 48% in 2018.

We put a special focus on places where we expect water challenges and carry out risk assessments to develop mitigation action plans that include efficiency improvements and water reuse opportunities. All such prioritised facilities have to fulfil a Local Water Risk Assessment, which is meant to gather contextual information and help us develop mitigation plans. 29 of the sites linked to high water risk have been assessed as of 2019.


2019 Integrated Annual Report, Acting for our environment, pages 58-61

Our Sustainability Approach, pages 23, 24, 53

GRI 303-1

Water withdrawal by source

Water intake (m³)



Q4 2018 to
Q3 20191 


Municipal water










Total municipal and groundwater





Surface water





Total water²





1. For all environmental figures this will become the regular reporting period for the reporting year 2019 in the upcoming reporting cycles.

2. Includes sanitary, cooling and process water.

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