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Water Sustainability

Achieving the AWS International Certification for Sustainable Water Resource Management

First in Japan to earn International Certification for Water Resource Management, the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS)

Suntory has achieved the first AWS International Certification in Japan for the Suntory Okudaisen Bunanomori Water Plant (Tottori Prefecture) in 2018 and then for Kyushu Kumamoto Plant (Kumamoto Prefecture) in 2019, followed by The Minami Alps Hakushu Water Plant (Yamanashi Prefecture) in 2021. This page introduces its significance.

Suntory Holdings Limited
General Manager, Sustainability Management Division
Harumichi Seta

Why Suntory is promoting the AWS

Suntory has been providing new values to people through its products and services to enrich their lives, which is the core of our business. Water is the most critical resource required for us to continue offering value to the customers and the essential resource for local communities and the ecosystem. Furthermore, water is a local resource that circulates depending on the local climate and geographical conditions. Evaporated sea water becomes clouds, rain down to become part of a river or groundwater, and then join larger rivers and back to the sea. This geographical zone is called a catchment. The water we withdraw to produce our products is part of the water cycle, connected to the more significant flow of the catchment like rivers or underground aquifers. Suntory regards itself as a part of the natural water cycle and promotes water stewardship activities in catchments around its plants to preserve the healthy water cycle.

Water Cycle in a Catchment

Water stewardship indicates continuous and integrated water resource management of the entire catchments in cooperation with governmental agencies and the local community, in addition to the water management of the own plants. The initiative aims to promote the use of water that is socially and culturally equitable, environmentally sustainable, and economically beneficial throughout the entire catchment. Suntory conduct initiatives to contribute to a healthy water cycle in the watersheds based on the Suntory Group’s “Sustainable Water Philosophy,” which has four pillars—understanding the natural water cycle, promoting environmentally conscious water use, conserving watersheds, and engaging with the local community. In addition to using water carefully through continuous water-saving activities and wastewater management at plants, Suntory established Institute for Water Science in 2003 to conduct hydrologic studies and scientifically understand the water cycle in watersheds around our plants. In the same year, the Natural Water Sanctuary Initiative began in Kyushu Kumamoto Plant to conserve the water source have expanded the area to 21 locations totaling about 12,000 ha in Japan and achieved the target of cultivating more than twice the amount of water used by our plants. We continue to realize our vision for the next 50 and 100 years with the support of experts in various fields and residents and to create a forest that nurture groundwater for the watersheds.
Moreover, we conduct the Suntory Mizuiku-Education Program for Nature and Water at the Natural Water Sanctuaries and local elementary schools near Tennensui Water Plants and cooperate with local government agencies and the community to monitor the catchments’ groundwater level and water resources. Furthermore, we implement forest maintenance and paddy impounding to recharge groundwater and disseminate attractiveness to vitalize local communities under signed partnership agreements with local government agencies. Suntory became the first company to earn the internationally respected standard for water stewardship in Japan, the AWS Certification, to continuously deepen such integrated water resource management itself along the “Sustainable Water Philosophy.”

Integrated Water Resource Management

About AWS

The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) is an organization globally promoting water sustainability established by NGOs, such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and companies. The AWS Certification is an international certificate for sustainable water use targeting plants globally and aims to promote water stewardship.
For the certificate audit of Okudaisen Bunanomori Water Plant, Suntory Kyushu Kumamoto Plant, and The Minami Alps Hakushu Water Plant, the assessment body were highly evaluated our integrated water resource management; understanding of the water balance in the catchment around the plants, in line with the Suntory Group's "Sustainable Water Philosophy," water source conservation based on scientific data, water saving and water quality management initiatives at plants, our work with stakeholders, and appropriate disclosure.

About the Partnership Agreement

Suntory Holdings received the request from the AWS to take leadership as a company that leads the promotion of water sustainability in Japan. Endorsing its purpose, we signed a partnership agreement with AWS Asia Pacific in February 2021. We also became the first company with AWS membership in Japan.
As the initiatives under the partnership agreement, we supervised the Japanese edition of the AWS International Standards issued in August 2021. We also introduced the certification of the AWS for Suntory Kyushu Kumamoto Plant through a case study etc., of water source conservation activities by winter paddy impounding at the 4th Asia Pacific Summit held in April 2022, in cooperation with the Water Stewardship Asia Pacific. Suntory will advocate the importance of water resource management by the private sector.

Achieving the AWS Certification by Suntory

2018

<First in Japan>
Suntory Okudaisen Bunanomori Water Plant
Achieved the AWS Certification

2019

Suntory Kyushu Kumamoto Plant
Achieved the AWS Certification

2021

<First in Japan>
Signed partnership agreement with AWS Asia Pacific
<First in Japan>
Member of the AWS Supporting Companies

Suntory Minami Alps Hakushu Water Plant
Achieved the AWS Certification

We will continue to further engage in AWS activities

AWS Activity Report 2021