Suntory: Creating harmony with people and nature through water sustainability

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Suntory: Creating harmony with people and nature through water sustainability

The quality of – and access to – water is one of the greatest challenges posed by climate change. Ocean acidification and pollution of water supplies threatens communities and the environments they reside in. It’s estimated that, by 2050, there could be more plastics than fish in the ocean (by weight).

There are further risks to local water sources and supplies, so it’s clear that action needs to be taken to mitigate and suppress the adverse effects of the climate crisis and improve water sustainability.

Suntory Holdings, producer of many of the world’s top alcoholic and soft drinks, has more of a stake in this than most. And with a company spirit that aims to give back to society – passed down from their foundation in 1899 – they know that action needs to be taken, not just for business, but for people and nature too.

‘Suntory’s mission is to create harmony with people and nature,’ declares Takeshi Niinami, the President and CEO of Suntory Holdings Limited. ‘Water is the core part of our business. But it’s not just special to our business; but also a precious resource to all living things.’

With the creation and stewardship of its multiple natural water sanctuaries, Suntory ensures that priority is given not only to the quality of water used in its products, but also to protecting biodiversity and the health of the ecosystem that supports them. At these sanctuaries, Suntory aims to cultivate more water than it uses through soil maintenance and the care of large areas of forest, ensuring quality groundwater.

Furthermore, of crucial importance to water sustainability around the world is tackling the problem of plastic waste. As a company that uses plastics for many of its products, Suntory knows this and has a massive opportunity to take positive steps to improve water circulation on a global level. With this in mind, Suntory has instigated a series of initiatives, from reducing plastic usage in their own operations to enhancing and improving the recycling process of PET bottles through careful but ambitious innovation.

For example, Suntory installed Japan’s first bottle to bottle mechanical recycling system in 2011 and, taking a step further, pioneered the Flake to Preform direct recycling method with a partner company, cutting CO2 emissions by over 60% compared to making PET preforms from petroleum. With regards to the environmental impact, Suntory has also set a goal of reducing carbon emissions in its own operations by 25% by 2030, engaging across its supply chain to reduce emissions there by 20% in the same timeframe.

These are all examples of the important actions Suntory is taking today. But the actions of today must be accompanied by preparation for the future.

Suntory recognises this and, with their ‘Mizuiku’ water education program, seeks to educate children on the importance of protecting water and nature for the future. This commitment has led to the education of almost 180,000 participants in Japan alone – where the program originated – and thousands more in Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand more recently, with Suntory addressing each region individually by acting on local water issues.

Through effective action designed to establish harmony between people and nature, Suntory Holdings utilises a spirit of innovation and community to encourage real and positive sustainable change. With such effective stewardship, Suntory is ensuring that water will be clean and available through 2050 and beyond.



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