Water Sustainability

Water Risk Assessment

The Suntory Group, which has made achieving water security a vital issue in Suntory Group's Environmental Principles, continues to conduct various water-related assessments at the Institute for Water Science, established in 2003. We conduct water-related risk assessments for sustainable business activities and use these assessments to promote environmental management. We also consider water risk assessment when developing new businesses.

Water Risk Assessment of Suntory Group’s Direct Operation sites

Water is the most vital ingredient for our business, as well as a precious shared resource. As such, the Suntory Group must understand the impact on our business, local communities, and the ecosystem based on water risk assessment for sustainable business growth.
Based on this, the Suntory Group conducted a risk assessment of water sustainability at direct operation sites*.

  • *
    Suntory Group plants that manufacture finished products: 23 plants in Japan, 54 plants overseas

1. Water stress situation in countries where direct operation sites are located

We identified the water stress situation in countries where direct operation sites are located using Baseline Water Stress, an indicator in the Aqueduct Country Ranking developed by the World Resources Institute. The Aqueduct Country Ranking is a global tool for uniformly assessing the water risk of each country.

Baseline Water Stress  
Extremely high India
High Mexico, Spain
Medium-high France, Thailand, Indonesia, Germany
Low-medium Japan, USA, UK
Low Canada, Ireland, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, New Zealand

Based on country scores for Baseline Water Stress as used in Aqueduct by World Resources Institute.

2. Water risk assessment in watersheds where direct operation sites are located

In addition to assessing the water stress situation in countries where direct operation sites are located, we prioritized the area by determining the water supply risk of all watersheds where they are in to manage the risks. The following is the assessment process and progress of risk management.

Primary Assessment ― Prioritization (Screening) of sites based on water stress assessment

The primary assessment was conducted using a method we developed based on the knowledge acquired during the Science Based Targets (SBT) for Water pilot study program in which we participated in 2021.
As a first step, we identified materiality related to water based on the characteristics of the beverage industry. Through this, we found that the most critical materiality is the water availability in watersheds where direct operation sites are located. We also found that groundwater and surface water are the ecosystem services we depend on most.
Next, we assessed the risks related to water availability in all watersheds where our sites are located to narrow down the plants that need water risk management as a priority. For assessment, in addition to the indicator of the Aqueduct mentioned earlier, we also referred to the Water Risk Filter developed by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). From those tools, we adopted four indicators that we can use to assess risks related to water availability. These indicators were used to determine the water availability based on the ratio between the amount of water supplied to the watershed by precipitation and the amount of water demand in the watershed, estimated based on population statistics. Three of the four indicators assessed “current” water stress levels, such as Water Depletion in the Water Risk Filter. We defined the average score of three indices as the current water risk score. For the remaining indicator, we adopted the 2040 Water Stress of the Aqueduct, which estimates the water availability in 2040 based on climate change scenarios ,etc., as “future” water risk score. All indices are scored in five risk levels and we categorized sites in watersheds with average current water risk score of "5: Extremely High" and "4: High" as sites with "Extremely high water-stressed" and sites with future water risk score of four or above as sites with "Highly water-stressed."
Supposing the total water withdrawal by all our plants in 2021 as 100%, 3% were by sites with “Extremely high water-stressed,” and 15% were by sites with “Highly water-stressed.” In the secondary assessment, we have set 18% of the plants as priority plants to prioritize in risk reduction.

  • *
    Pilot study to verify methodology related to SBT settings for water by Science Based Targets Network
  • Water Depletion of Water
    Risk Filter (Five Levels)

    Source: Created based on Water Risk
    Filter of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

  • 2040 Water Stress BAU
    Scenario of Aqueduct (Five Levels)

    Source: Created based on Aqueduct
    Project of World Resources Institute

Secondary assessment ― Assessing the level of risk reduction measures at each plant

The level of risk reduction measures progress from the perspective of water management (water withdrawal and water-saving) and coexistence with the communities at sites narrowed down in the primary assessment as we assessed priority plants. Since the condition of the water resource is different in each watershed where our sites are located, we conduct measures to reduce risks that correspond with local conditions.

a. Water management (Water withdrawal and water-saving management)

As water is a precious resource shared with the community and ecosystem, our plants must manage water in a responsibly and appropriately.
Our plants water sources fall into two main categories: municipal and natural water (surface water and/or groundwater). Since municipal water is generally shared with various users in the community, its source area is extensive, and the local water authorities are the primary entity responsible for managing water withdrawal from the source. The plant needs to follow the water supply management policies and plans of the water authorities, including climate change adaptation plans, and promote appropriate water-saving management. On the other hand, if a plant uses natural water as a source, the primary entity responsible for managing water withdrawal is the plant, which has water intake inside the site. Therefore, the plant needs to take the initiative in water withdrawal and water-saving management to adapt to environmental changes such as climate change.
Based on the above points, we have assessed the level of measures progress to manage water withdrawal and water-saving at each plant. We evaluated the following two items:

(1) Water withdrawal management

The ability to prove that water withdrawal is managed properly (that water is not excessively withdrawn)

  • *
    Plants that use municipal water are not covered as the water authorities manage the water withdrawal
<Assessment criteria>
    • The ability to collect the required water withdrawal data to demonstrate that water withdrawals are not significantly impacting local river and groundwater levels.
    • Required water withdrawal data is being collected.
    Required water withdrawal data is not collected Red
    Part of the required water withdrawal data is collected Yellow
    All required water withdrawal data is collected, and water withdrawal is appropriately managed Green
  • <Assessment Results>
    The following is water withdrawal management level of each plant represented as a pie chart. As a result of corrective actions taken at plants with assessed as having insufficient measures of progress, the percentage of plants whose progress level is Green has changed from 33% (December 2021) to 45% (December 2022).
    (2) Water Saving Management

    The ability to demonstrate that the progress of water saving activities is adequately managed

    <Assessment standard>
    • Target was established to promote efficient use of water.
    • Conducting activities to achieve the target yearly.
    • Target is achieved yearly.
    No med-term target for water intensity Red
    No yearly target for water intensity or not achieved Yellow
    The yearly target for water intensity has achieved Green
  • <Assessment results>

    The following is the water-saving management level of each plant represented as a pie chart. As a result of setting a medium-term target and conducting water-saving measures to achieve the yearly target, the percentage of plants that have the water-saving management level of Green increased from 43% (December 2021) to 57% (December 2022).

    We will continue to conduct measures to reduce risks using this process.

    b. Coexistence with the community

    As we are users of water as a shared resource with the community, Suntory recognizes part of the many stakeholders in the watershed; we aim to contribute to the development of the watershed society by conserving the water resource in each watershed to work hand-in-hand with the other stakeholders.
    Precisely, following the roadmap for water source conservation efforts in the Environmental Targets toward 2030, we are identifying water-related issues in the watershed where our sites are located with local stakeholders. With the agreement of major stakeholders, we then begin conducting measures to conserve the water source area upstream of the site.
    Based on the above points, we have assessed the progress of measures to co-exist with the community at each plant.

    <Assessment standard>
    • Have identified issues related to ensuring water sustainability in the watershed.
    • Have worked with local stakeholders to implement measures that contribute to resolving the issues.
    Water-related issues in the watershed are not identified Red
    Water-related issues in the watershed are identified Yellow
    Working with the community to resolve water-related issues in the watershed Green
  • <Assessment results>

    The following is the progress of measures related to coexisting with the local community at each plant, represented as a pie chart. As a result of steady efforts at each plant, 39% of the plants reached the level of Green (December 2022).

    In each area, we identify water-related issues and progress water source conservation efforts with experts such as university professors. At the Behror Plant in India, we have implemented activities to recharge the aquifers, which are the water source, by utilizing reservoirs that can collect rainwater based on a local hydrological survey regarding the water balance of the entire watershed where the plant belongs. In addition, at the Toledo Plant in Spain, we collaborate with a local NGO and a university in researching the ecosystem and conducting hydrological surveys to improve the water quality of the Tagus River basin through a project called "Guardians of the Tagus." We are running a more detailed field survey of the upstream of a municipal water reservoir used by the plant, which is identified as the recharge area, to make a plan for conservation activities. Furthermore, at the Bogor Plant in Indonesia, we have identified the recharge area of the groundwater aquifer our plant use based on the hydrological survey of the watershed about river flow rates considering the rainy and dry seasons, water quality, and geological structure in cooperation with a local university in preparation for formulating a plan for groundwater conservation. We will continue to follow the roadmap toward 2030 for water source conservation efforts and steadily conduct those activities.
    We will also conduct "Mizuiku" - Education Program for Nature and Water at areas we perform these activities to teach the importance of conserving the water source to the local children who will lead the next generation.