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CARNATION® Dairy Processing Facility Becomes First in the U.S. to Achieve Alliance for Water Stewardship Certification

Facility redistributes more than 70 million gallons of water per year - returning more to the community than it uses to produce beloved evaporated milk brand
Graphic: Modesto Factory Recycled 70 Million Gallons of Water in 2020
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Nestlé USA today announced that its Carnation facility in Modesto, California is the first dairy processing facility in the U.S. to earn certification under the rigorous Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) standard. The Carnation facility uses a “water positive” process to make evaporated milk, meaning the facility redistributes more water for farmers to use than it uses for production and cleaning.

The AWS Standard is the first, comprehensive global standard for measuring responsible water stewardship across social, cultural, environmental and economic criteria. Independent auditors from SCS Global Services assessed the facility’s performance metrics on water quantity and quality, the water sources within the catchment, and the stakeholder engagement process.

In 2018, the facility developed a state-of-the-art water recycling system. Nestlé USA sources fresh milk from family dairy farms to make its evaporated milk, a process that involves removing water from milk. The facility now treats and reuses a portion of that water in cleaning processes and the balance is made available to the community. Thanks to the facility’s efforts and investments by the City of Modesto in managing wastewater, the Carnation facility now returns more water for reuse in agriculture than it uses. The facility returned more than 70 million gallons of water to the watershed in 2020, enough to fill 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

“This certification is reflective of Nestlé USA’s robust approach to water stewardship at its Carnation production facility in Modesto, California,” said Matt Howard, Director for AWS North America. “The team in Modesto built upon its innovative water-recycling technology, going further to embed water conservation into its employee culture, and engage with stakeholders in the community on shared water challenges.”

“As Nestlé strives for a more sustainable future, we are reimagining how we make our products while protecting shared resources like water,” said Detlef Krost, Chief Technical Officer for Nestlé USA. “We are extremely proud that our Modesto facility has achieved AWS certification, recognizing our ongoing efforts to recycle and replenish water for use in agriculture, the foundation of our supply chain.”

Nestlé USA empowered its Modesto facility employees as co-owners of its water stewardship strategy. “Above and beyond our investments, I’m most proud of the fact that we have embedded caring for water into our employee culture,” said Omar Askar, Carnation Factory Manager. “As a result, the team identified and resolved leaks more quickly and found new uses for recycled water. In 2020, we exceeded our facility’s water usage intensity goal by 40 percent.”

Nestlé USA’s commitment to water stewardship extends beyond its factory walls. The company invested in a project led by Sustainable Conservation to increase dairy farmers’ adoption of an award-winning innovation that allows farmers to manage dairy manure and irrigate their fields in a more environmentally sustainable way. Farmers who implemented the technology have increased crop yields while reducing their use of water and fertilizer, reducing carbon emissions, and improving water quality. Nestlé USA’s Modesto facility leadership has shared the benefits of this technology with its own network of milk suppliers in the region.

Achieving AWS certification in Modesto is an important milestone in Nestlé’s global efforts to secure credible, third-party recognition for its water stewardship efforts. The Carnation facility’s progress contributes to Nestlé’s global commitments related to protecting water resources, which include improving water efficiency in operations, advocating for effective water policies and stewardship, and engaging with agricultural suppliers.

About the Alliance for Water Stewardship

AWS is a global membership-based collaboration that unites organizations behind its mission: To lead a global network that promotes responsible use of freshwater that is socially and economically beneficial and environmentally sustainable. AWS achieves this through a global water stewardship system, centered on the International Water Stewardship Standard (the AWS Standard), that drives, recognizes, and rewards good water stewardship performance. The AWS vision is that water users and managers are responsible water stewards, who protect and enhance freshwater resources for people and nature. The AWS Standard provides a globally applicable framework for major water users to understand their water use and impact, and to work collaboratively and transparently for sustainable management within water catchment areas.

About SCS Global Services

SCS Global Services (SCS) has been a global leader in third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing, and standards development for more than three decades. Its programs span a cross-section of industries, recognizing achievements in green building, product manufacturing, food and agriculture, natural resource management, power generation, and more. SCS is now a leading AWS certification body, and the sole AWS-approved conformity assessment body in North America. SCS worked closely with AWS during the development stages of the certification program. SCS is based in Emeryville California, with representatives and affiliates around the world. Its broad network of auditors are experts in their fields, and the company is a trusted partner to many environmental NGOs due to its dedication to quality and professionalism. SCS is a Chartered Benefit Corporation, reflecting its commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices. For more information, visit