Nestlé Waters North America has announced that its water bottling site in California has received a Platinum rating under the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard. The Ontario site reportedly marks the first food and beverage factory in the world to earn this highest attainable rating. According to Nestlé, it is also the first company of any type to achieve the rating in North America. As part of the AWS certification process, independent auditors from SCS Global Services determined that the Ontario site offered significant and positive regional impacts. The auditors looked at a number of factors within the watersheds, such as water quality, water quantity and the health of important water-related areas. The certification also takes into account Nestlé’s engagement with key water-related stakeholders. Among these efforts is Nestlé’s collaboration with the California Water Action Collaborative on watershed restoration projects. It also recognises the site’s positive contribution to the local catchment, including the implementation of water education efforts, participating in water, sanitation and health (WASH) education outreach, and providing water donations to local food banks and emergency relief efforts. “We are extremely proud that our Ontario facility is the first food and beverage factory in the world to achieve AWS Platinum certification, globally recognised as the most rigorous water stewardship standard for businesses to meet,” said David Tulauskas, chief sustainability officer at NWNA. He added: “It attests to the years of our community-first approach and the effort we have put into many water stewardship initiatives in California – on our own and as part of collective actions. We are working to achieve platinum-level certification at more of our sites, and encourage others in our industry and beyond to do the same.” In 2018, Nestlé Waters pledged to extend its water stewardship scheme and to certify all of its water bottling sites by 2025. It initially committed to the AWS Standard in 2017 in which it was the first beverage company to achieve the AWS certification. To date, Nestlé has certified 30 sites around the world including ten in the US and all five of its California factories. Matt Howard, director for AWS North America, said: “This re-certification includes the factory’s continued focus on water stewardship onsite and at spring sources. Additionally, this advanced-level of certification reflects the positive contributions NWNA has made to the people, economy and nature in the catchment.”