Waste management is the key challenge that UAE is currently facing and FMCG manufacturers in the private sector are the focal points of change. For Emirati leaders transition to sustainable business is opening new horizons, where responsible attitude towards society and the planet will not only reduce negative impact but create credibility and consumer loyalty to the brand and add competitive advantage in the market. Companies should bring sustainability on a strategic level and act as responsible business entities.
In attempt to track the the performance of UAE “plastic polluters” I researched fresh news and I was even lucky enough to speak with Mr. Claus, sustainability manager of Nestle Water. So how do the biggest bottled water manufacturers address their environmental problems?
Currently their environmental efforts are limited to innovations in production technologies and small- scale recycling on selected sites.
Masafi provides “recycling from the source “ opportunity to any organisation with 200+ employees, by distributing recycling bins and collecting used plastic bottle waste which goes to dedicated recycling facility in RAK and Fujairah.
Nestle, a Swiss water manufacturer, is partially producing its plastic bottles from reused plastic bottles. In collaboration with recycling expert companies it actively pursues the environmental goal of minimizing the impact of its business by collecting and recycling plastic waste. “Collection of used plastic bottles from companies and households is a major barrier for any bottled water producer due to high number of locations around Dubai and UAE. What we found feasible at this stage is collecting and reusing 5 Gallon bottles from our consumers. One bottle can be reused up to 30 times.” says Mr. Claus.
Al Ain water producer took a step to reducing its environmental impact by introducing technology in minimizing the amount of plastic resource for its bottle production by 30%. Recently the company expanded by 60%, so its previous technological innovations simply do not offset the expansion costs and damage to the environment and it is time for drastic changes and new initiatives to be taken in the company’s value chain. That means getting closer to circular economy and contributing to UAE agenda to become a sustainable country.
Eventually to become climate change positive and sustainable enterprise drinking water producers should continue focusing on production innovation technologies reducing the inputs of raw materials, saving water and energy costs during manufacturing process at its production premises. Life Cycle assessment is also important, aiming at extension of product lifetime and closing the loop by means of reorganizing the supply chain into effective “product into material, material into product” circular production and supply regime. One of the which includes collection and recycling of plastic and glass from F&B outlets, corporate companies and other consumers. This initiative would sufficiently reduce the amount of waste produced in the UAE, set unspoken industry trends and serve as a precursor for future laws and waste disposal restrictions for other companies to follow.