The sustainable management of a water resource and the protection of its qualities are the heart of the evian® business. It is a heritage passed on from generation to generation. This is how the evian® protection charter was established, and the first stage of its commitment begins with the preservation of the original natural qualities of evian® natural spring water.
CO-PROTECTING WATER RESOURCES HERE AND ABROAD
evian® has been working for twenty years with local farmers and authorities in order to protect the resource from the impacts of agriculture and human activities. In 1992, all these stakeholders joined to create APIEME, the Association for the Protection of the Impluvium of evian® spring water. It gathers 125 local partners alongside the Société des Eaux d’Evian represented by Cathy Le Hec.
As states Cathy Le Hec, the partnership is essential to lead these actions through a continuous improvement process: “working like this on a daily basis with all the local actors allows efficient implementation of actions in favour of water protection and environment, as well as the promotion of a local development with an overall quality objective.”
This joint approach helps guarantee that all the parties keep progressing together with everyone's needs in mind. Improvement is always around the corner, but APIEME has already had significant successes, such as the impluvium being classified as a Ramsar wetland zone (see Ramsar Convention Partnership above).
For more information, go to: http://www.apieme-evian.com/
On the global scale, evian® adopts a collaborative approach to work on the preservation of wetlands: in 1998, it was the first private company to become a partner with the Ramsar Convention, whose mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions, and international cooperation.” For more information, go to: www.ramsar.org
In 2009, the classification of the evian® impluvium as a Ramsar Site rewarded the policy of protection of this natural heritage. evian® is the first natural spring water whose infiltration zone was recognized as a wetland of international importance.
This partnership is not limited to evian®’s impluvium protection. As water protection lies at the very core of its field of expertise, evian® decided to cooperate with other players worldwide, working for the conservation of water resources and wetland ecosystems.
Anada Tiega, General Secretary of the Ramsar Convention, says this partnership has already enabled to implement “significant actions and projects for the conservation of wetlands,” such as the Water Protection Schools that both entities set up together in Thailand, Nepal and Argentina in order to educate on water management.
The partnership with RAMSAR and IUCN also led to the creation of the Danone Fund for Nature, that became the Livelihoods Fund in 2011: it gathers companies around Danone to lead projects dedicated to improve local populations’ well-being while preserving their ecosystem.
A first project that involves evian® in the replanting of mangrove forests in Senegal was launched in 2009, in association with Oceanium, a local NGO working on the mangroves ecosystem. By planting the mangrove forest, communities manage to restore their ecosystem and their biodiversity (populations of fish, oysters etc.), which provides essential food.
This is a win-win initiative, as it leads to a protection of the ecosystem while involving local populations. Catherine Bolzer, a nurse at Evian participating in the project underscores this collaborative aspect: “We are all volunteers, working together for the success of this project. Beyond the preservation of the planet, it is also a humanitarian issue. Taking care of the mangrove forest also means taking care of the populations that depend on it for their livelihoods.”
CO-ENSURING BETTER ACCESS TO WATER
The other subject on which evian® contributes to “water cooperation” is sustainable access to water for the population who live around its production site. In fact, in the city of Evian, people have direct access to the free evian® water spring.
Moreover, it is at the heart of evian®’s concern to enhance and manage a sustainable use of its resource. As evian® started using a natural resource, it had to ensure its durability and make it available for future generations. Thus, the water life cycle is always respected by only taking what nature can renew.
evian® is also part of a group which is highly involved in facilitating access to water long-term solutions, enhancing the independence of local populations. For instance, Danone supports the “1001 Fountains” project in Cambodia, that funds installation of treatment units that produce safe drinking water, which is then bottled and distributed to isolated populations.
For more information, go to: www.1001fontaines.com
All these actions show how evian® contributes to tackle two main issues related to water management: the protection of the resource and its easy access for the local populations. They also highlight a strong collaborative approach. Cooperation is in fact a major tool to build relevant and sustainable social businesses, and also to help evian® understand as accurately as possible what role it can play, on the ground, to help build beneficial relationships around water.