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Scarcity of water is a persistent problem in North Africa. So it is all the more important that this vital resource is handled carefully in these regions. However, it is precisely here that there is frequently a lack of relevant awareness and knowledge. For this reason, we rate Tunisian company Vitalait’s comprehensive water-saving measures even more highly. The fact that the annual water savings of 175,000 m³ are accompanied by cost savings of almost CHF 100,000 is all the more pleasing.

Water is a global sustainability issue. In our view, a company must assume considerable responsibility where water is especially scarce in particular. However, it is in these areas that there is often a lack of awareness and, in the work environment, a lack of knowledge on how to conserve water.

Benefiting from knowledge in the Emmi network

In many European industrial countries, water-saving measures have been part of day-to-day operations for many years – not primarily because of water shortages, but due to waste water costs. Emmi sites in Switzerland have also reduced their fresh water consumption by a total of 10 % over the past decade.

Since the processes and equipment used in industrial milk processing are basically comparable worldwide, knowledge exchange is an obvious option in a company like Emmi. However, we have learnt from our many years of experience with the Emmi Operational Excellence (EOE) cost-saving and efficiency-enhancing programme, which is now being applied throughout almost the entire Group, that knowledge transfer is primarily a debt to be paid. This is the only way to create a willingness in the developing area not simply to consume support, but to build up a deep understanding of the matter and to get involved.

Professional, targeted approach

At the start of 2017, Tunisian company Central Laitière de Mahdia (“Vitalait”) decided to optimise its water consumption. Together with a local consultancy, the project, which was designed to last one year, was initiated and broken down into five phases, from analysis to future controlling. Various project teams with employees from different areas quickly identified a range of environmentally and economically sensible measures, such as the recovery of cooling water.

Overall, in just one year, measures were implemented that reduced annual water consumption of this production plant by around 175,000 m3 and resulted in cost savings of CHF 100,000.

We hope that this convincing result will encourage our employees in Tunisia to become even more committed to sustainability in the future. The commendation of this water-saving project in the Emmi Sustainability Competition is intended to serve as motivation.

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The jury
Marc Heim
Emmi
Executive Vice President Switzerland / Deputy CEO
Robin Barraclough
Emmi
Executive Vice President Europe
Thomas Morf
Emmi
Chief Marketing Officer
Kai Könecke
Emmi
Chief Supply Chain Officer
Natalie Rüedi
Emmi
Chief Human Resource Officer
Max Peter
Emmi
Trade & SCM Switzerland
Energy Agency Swiss Private Sector EnAW
Thomas Pesenti
Consultant
WWF Switzerland
Daniela Hoffmann
Agricultural Experts