Sustainable Water Philosophy

Our craftsmanship is only possible through nature’s gifts. It is our duty to nurture and protect water as an invaluable natural resource. Everything we create is grounded in respect and appreciation for water and we are committed to our efforts to keep water in its purest and most abundant form for future generations.

Sustainable Water Philosophy Overview

Sustainable Water Philosophy Overview

Establishing Our Sustainable Water Philosophy

The Suntory Group Sustainable Water Philosophy was established to address relevant water issues in each of our regions of operation. As we grow internationally, we are expanding our work on water sustainability across the globe.

Suntory Group’s Sustainable Water Philosophy(Established 2017)

Water is the most important ingredient of our products, as well as a precious shared resource. In order to achieve "water sustainability", the first pillar of Suntory Group's Environmental Policy, we want to share these values with all Suntory Group members and apply them where we operate in order to answer to our stakeholders' expectations.

  1. Understanding the natural cycle of water
    We investigate watersheds around our sites to understand the local hydrological cycle, using a scientific approach when needed.
  2. Promoting environmentally conscious water use
    We reduce the environmental impacts of water use on the natural water cycle by implementing 3R activities and returning water to nature after adequate treatment.
  3. Conserving watersheds
    We conserve our watersheds and endeavor to improve local water quality and quantity in cooperation with stakeholders for a sustainable future.
  4. Engaging with the local community
    We endeavor to support our community by fostering collective actions to solve water issues and enrich society.

Water Sustainability

Only about 0.01% of the entire fresh water on Earth can be used by mankind. Suntory Group business is supported by precious global resources such as water and agricultural products. Suntory Group uses water carefully and not only returns clean water to nature, but protects forests that nurture groundwater and contribute to healthy circulation of water in nature. In other words, we recognize that water sustainability is the most important issue in our business activity.

Diagram of Suntory Group's Production Sites

Realizing Preservation and Regeneration of Natural Environment

The Suntory Group businesses are supported and realized by precious global resources such as water. We are reducing the environmental burden in our business activities to pass down a global environment rich with water and abundant nature to the future generations. We are also promoting activities that contribute to the preservation and revitalization of the natural environment such as the preservation of the natural environment in Natural Water Sanctuaries, Save the Birds activities to share the importance of protecting the wild birds that symbolize a rich ecosystem with society, and the Suntory Mizuiku - Education Program for Nature and Water that communicates the importance of water to children.
Within our Environmental Vision 2050, we declare an ambition to take on the challenge of actively engaging in environmental preservation and restoration activities in the main countries of operation, while also setting various targets for them in the Environmental Targets toward 2030

Enhanced 3Rs for Water to Reduce Water Use

Suntory Group’s plants use a large amount of water, for example, in cleaning production equipment and cooling, in addition to using it as an ingredient in our products. In order to conserve limited water resources, we intensify our activities to achieve targets toward 2030 of "Reduce water consumption at Suntory Group plants worldwide by 35%*1" through enforcement of 3Rs for water, ensuring that the minimum amount of water is required (Reduce), water can be used repeatedly (Reuse), and water can be processed and used elsewhere (Recycle).

  • *1
    Reduction per unit production based on the business fields in 2015

Applying 3Rs in Water Usage

When selecting equipment and devices in our plants, we follow the "3Rs of Water": Reduce the amount of water as much as possible, Reuse water, and Recycle water through treatment.
A variety of activities related to the 3Rs are being implemented at the Minami Alps Hakushu Water Plant of Suntory Products. In particular, thanks to our use of a sophisticated "water cascade" recycling process, we are an industry leader in terms of per unit production in relation to the volume of water used.

  • The Minami Alps Hakushu Water Plant of Suntory Products Ltd.

    The Minami Alps Hakushu Water Plant of Suntory Products

  • Reuse of water recycled at each stage of cleaning stored in 200 ton tanks

    Reuse of water recycled at each stage of cleaning stored in 200 ton tanks

Using Cascades of Water

Water used in the manufacturing process is classified into five grades, including coolant water, cleaning water, ets., based on quality. This technology allows plants to recycle water to be used in subsequent processes, for example, using the highest grade water in the most demanding process, and recycling it for use in a process with less stringent requirements.

Using Cascades of Water

Natural Water Sanctuaries
(Water Resource Cultivation/ Preserving Biodiversity)

Natural Water Sanctuary Initiative -- For the future of water and life

Suntory is a "water" company.
Without quality water, we are unable to produce any beer, soft drinks, or whisky.
This is because water, especially groundwater, serves as Suntory's lifeline.
This precious groundwater is nurtured in the forest.

In order to maintain safety and reliability of groundwater as well as sustainability, we are cultivating water resources in forests which is more than twice the amount of water used by our plants. Therefore, plant water source recharge areas are specified, with a focus on our Institute for Water Science, and mid-to-long-term agreements are established with local government and forest owners to maintain forests, leading to the establishment of Natural Water Sanctuaries.
In addition to the first sanctuary location established in Aso City, Kumamoto Prefecture in 2003 and the newest sanctuary called "Natural Water Sanctuary Northern Alps" (located in Omachi City, Nagano Prefecture) in March 2019, there are 21 Suntory Natural Water Sanctuaries in 15 prefectures which comprise a total area of approximately 12,000ha.

<Natural Water Sanctuary Development Targets>

<Natural Water Sanctuary> Development Targets

  1. Forests with a great capacity for cultivating water resources
  2. Forests rich in biodiversity
  3. Forests able to withstand flooding and landslides
  4. Forests with great CO2 absorption capabilities
  5. Beautiful forests where visitors can encounter nature in all its abundance
    (used for education programs, etc.)
Natural Water Sanctuary 21 areas nationwide Around 12,000ha
  • *1
    When there contracts and agreements with different durations, the longest duration is given.
  • *2
    Planned to conserve for a century.
  • *3
    Planned to conserve for several decades.
  • *4
    In Nagaokakyo, Kyoto, we are a member of the Nishiyama forestry development promotion committee and we are cooperating in local forest preservation activities with people in the community. The area of the forests subject to this activity is not counted as part of our total Natural Water Sanctuary area.
Looking at Groundwater -- Comparing simulation models with results from field surveys

One of the main purposes of our Natural Water Sanctuary Initiative to improve the function of forests for recharging water resources.
As a way to evaluate the results, Suntory has been trying to quantitatively evaluate the amount of groundwater recharge using a groundwater flow simulation model since 2006 and is finally approaching a level of accuracy which would allow the model to be used. Through the simulation of groundwater flow, we attempt to simulate where groundwater passes and how long it takes to reach the factory, and combine it with field survey information to deepen understanding of the underground which we normally cannot see. We would like to incorporate these results into the maintenance plan which will lead to more effective cultivation of water source recharge areas.

Water source survey

In addition to simulation results, it is also important to combine these results with results based on information gathered in the field during hydrologic surveys, etc. for verification.

Forest Cultivation Which Looks 50 years and 100 Years Into the Future

All forests are different. So what are the special characteristics of each Natural Water Sanctuary as well as the issues that they face?
At first, we engage in activities that follow the RPDCA cycle which includes scientifically-based survey and research (Research), which serves as the foundation, creation of a vision (development plan) suited to each forest (Plan), maintenance work conducted by professionals (Do), verification of results (Check), and consideration of measures for improvement/conducting re-examination (Action).
The areas and fields of investigation and research targeted by Natural Water Sanctuary Initiative are diverse and linked organically. In doing so, cooperation based on the knowledge and skills of experts in various fields and of people in local communities is indispensable. We also use Natural Water Sanctuaries to conduct activities including human resource development support for passing on knowledge and skills (road creation, preventing damage from harmful animals, etc.), Suntory Mizuiku - Education Program for Nature and Water, which allows children to experience the importance of forests since they cultivate water, and The training program of First Hand Experience with Forestry by Suntory employees.
Suntory continues implementation of Natural Water Sanctuary Initiative in order to provide the blessing of nature, something that cannot be replaced, to our children, grandchildren, and future generations to come by first humbly listening to various related issues and work together with local communities to gain knowledge.

More information about forest cultivation

RPDCA diagram

A Healthy Forest is One Full of Life -- Protecting Biodiversity

If there are many different types of plants in a forest, there will be an increase in the types of small animals that eat them, resulting in attracting animals that eat those small animals. In a healthy environment like this, a pyramid formed by various organisms is completed.

In addition to conducting systematic management through continuous ecosystem monitoring of animals, including birds, plants, and insects at Natural Water Sanctuaries, in January 2011 we participated in Biodiversity Declaration Promotion Partners initiated by Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) and are taking the initiative to create a society rich in biodiversity.

  • Diagram of Biodiversity Pyramid

    Biodiversity Pyramid of a Forest:
    Protecting the soil and vegetation
    leads to the protection of the entire ecosystem.

  • Fauna and flora inhabiting "Natural Water Sanctuary" in various locations

Biodiversity in a Natural Water Sanctuary from a Bird's Perspective

The plant and animal life living in the forest will change if the typical functions of the forest can be revitalized. Focusing on wild birds, which are said to serve as a barometer of a given environment, we conduct wild bird surveys by specialists in the Natural Water Sanctuaries every year based on the idea that it is possible to comprehensively grasp the changes in the entire ecosystem that supports them.
In addition, We have been promoting the project of nest building and rearing of chicks by eagles and hawks at all the Natural Water Sanctuaries in Japan with the purpose of advancing the development of a forest rich with biodiversity by taking the perspective of natural wild birds in the Natural Water Sanctuaries.

Suntory Bird Conservation Activities

Becoming More Familiar with Natural Water Sanctuaries

Ikurinzai - Timber From Cultivated Forests Project

It is necessary to cut down trees in order to keep a forest healthy. The Suntory Group calls wood material made from Natural Water Sanctuary Initiative to nurture sustainable water and forests "Ikurinzai - Timber from cultivated forests, carefully using all the conifer and broad-leaved trees removed during tree cutting, road creation, and other activities.

Ikurinzai - Timber From Cultivated Forests Project

Case Examples of Timber Utilization Inside and Outside of the Company

Natural Water Sanctuary Forum

Based on the goal of "Creating Forests Which Nurture Water and Life," specialists in a variety of fields who provide coaching and collaborate in Natural Water Sanctuary Initiative are invited the form which serves as an opportunity to share the newest expertise and policies for future activities. The forum was held nine times from 2011 to 2019.

Photo of Natural Water Sanctuary Forum

A poster session where guests can ask lecturers questions and exchange opinions

Natural Water Sanctuary Forum

Training Program for Employees

Many group employees and their families have volunteered for the forest stewardship program in Natural Water Sanctuaries up to 2013. Since 2014, so that each employee experiences and understands the values of our corporate philosophy "To Create Harmony with People and Nature," a total of about 7,400 people (including about 800 volunteers) participated in the First Hand Experience with Forestry as a training program for Suntory Group company employees, mainly current employees of Suntory Holdings and Suntory Beverage & Food.

  • Employees cutting undergrowth at a Natural Water Sanctuary

    Employees cutting undergrowth
    at a Natural Water Sanctuary

  • Employees pruning trees at a Natural Water Sanctuary

    Employees pruning trees
    at a Natural Water Sanctuary

University of Tokyo "The Wisdom of Water" (Suntory) Corporate Sponsored Research Program

Suntory Holdings established the University of Tokyo "The Wisdom of Water" (Suntory) Corporate Sponsored Research Program in April 2008, and it has held this research program for five years. By cultivating more social interest in water, we are engaging in the various activities below with the aim of contributing to the education of research in academic fields while promoting solutions of water issues as well as developing a rich water environment.

University of Tokyo "The Wisdom of Water" (Suntory) Corporate Sponsored Research Program

Activity Case Examples

Suntory Mizuiku - Education Program for Nature and Water

We are implementing Suntory Mizuiku-Education Program for Nature and Water to pass down precious natural environment to the next generation.

Suntory Mizuiku-Education Program for Nature and Water

Suntory Mizuiku-Education Program for Nature and Water celebrates its 18th year in 2021. Suntory Mizuiku-Education Program for Nature and Water is a program unique to Suntory designed for the next generation to realize the beauty of nature and importance of water and the forests that nurture the groundwater and to think about what they can do to ensure there is water in the future. The program centers on two activities: Outdoor School of Forest and Water and Teaching Program at Schools.It started online in 2020.

  • *
    Sponsor: Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, etc.

Outdoor School of Forest and Water

This hands-on nature program geared to elementary school students from grades three through six and their parents or guardians is held in the home regions of (Mineral Water) Suntory Tennensui. Participants experience for themselves the importance of water and of the forests that produce it amid the great outdoors at Hakushu (Yamanashi prefecture), Okudaisen (Tottori prefecture), and Aso (Kumamoto prefecture). Around 26,900 students and their parents took part in the program since it began in 2004 through 2020. We opened a remote school in 2020.
The Outdoor School of Forest and Water staff conduct the program together with expert instructors that play active role locally in environmental education.

Total number of participants at the Suntory Mizuiku - Natural Water Education Program Outdoor School of Forest and Water (total of three schools)
Graph of Total number of participants at the Suntory Mizuiku - Natural Water Education Program Outdoor School of Forest and Water (total of three schools)

Outdoor School of Forest and Water

  • Photo of Outdoor School of Forest and Water 1
  • Photo of Outdoor School of Forest and Water 2
  • Photo of Outdoor School of Forest and Water 3

Outdoor School of Forest and Water

Teaching Program at Schools

We offer study programs for students in grades 4 and 5 in elementary schools together with their teachers. We believe we can make a difference by teaching the cycle and importance of nature through videos and experiments so that together we can pass down water to future generations. The number of students participating in these programs are roughly 163,800 at approximately 2,100 schools as of 2020. Online classes have also started in 2020, which enable any schools to take part in all over Japan.

Teaching Program at Schools

Total number of participants for Teaching Program at Schools
Graph of Total number of participants for Teaching Program at Schools
  • Photo of Teaching about Water at Schools 1
  • Photo of Teaching about Water at Schools 2
  • Photo of Teaching about Water at Schools 3

Teaching about Water at Schools

Suntory Mizuiku - Natural Water Education Program Website

The Suntory Mizuiku-Natural Water Education Program website is a place to have fun and learn about water. The website includes detailed information about the Outdoor School of Forest and Water and the Teaching Program at Schools programs in addition to kids pages such as the encyclopedia that brings together independent water research and comprehensive knowledge about water.

Expanding Suntory Mizuiku - Education Program for Nature and Water on a Global Level

With the expansion of Suntory Group's business activities internationally, we have also expanded Suntory Mizuiku - Education Program for Nature and Water overseas with the hope of promoting environmental activities globally.

Vietnam

We started the Vietnam Version of Suntory Mizuiku-Education Program for Nature and Water from March 2015, marking our first Suntory Mizuiku effort overseas.
We developed original education materials in collaboration with our group company, Suntory Pepsico Vietnam Beverage and international NGOs such as Live and Learn, started collaboration with the Central Council of Ho Minh Young Pioneer Organization as well as the Vietnam National Union of Students from 2017, and have been conducting classes for third and fourth grade children to learn about the importance of water, sanitary management, and the importance of preserving water resources. We are also expanding teaching classes in each region by dispatching qualified Mizuiku instructors as part of a summer program. Starting in Hanoi City, classes are also taught in Ho Chi Min City and Bac Ninh, Ben Tre, Quang Nam, Lang Son, Ha Giang, Dong Nai, Thai Nguyen, Da Nang, Tra Vinh Provinces. As of the end of 2020, approximately 38,000 children have participated in the program since its inception.
In addition, we are contributing to the installation of toilets and washrooms at elementary schools to improve sanitary environment of children.
This activity was created to contribute to Target 6.B of Sustainable Development Goal 6 "Ensure access to water and sanitation for all."

Photo of Vietnam 1
Photo of Vietnam 2

Suntory Mizuiku-Education Program for Nature and Water in Vietnam

Thailand

From July 2019, we started Suntory Mizuiku-Education Program for Nature and Water in Thailand, the second foreign country in addition to Vietnam to serve as a program target location.
Through the collaboration of our group company Suntory PepsiCo Beverage Thailand and a local NGO, we implemented an educational program for fourth, fifth, and sixth grade children from Saraburi Province and Rayong Province, where Suntory PepsiCo Beverage Thailand plants are located, and Chiang Mai Province, which possesses the most water resources in Thailand. Approximately 4,000 children have participated in the program as of the end of 2020. It is an original nature experience program which teaches children about the importance of water, the importance of protecting water resources, and similar matters.
We also began a project to prevent sediment based erosion by slowing the currents of streams in northern Chiang Mai Province, installed small weirs to support permeation of underground water, planted trees to prevent soil from flowing into the streams.

Photo of Thailand 1
Photo of Thailand 2

Suntory Mizuiku-Education Program for Nature and Water in Thailand

Indonesia

We started the Indonesia Version of Suntory Mizuiku-Education Program for Nature and Water in July 2019.
Collaborating with our group company Suntory Garuda Beverage, a local foundation, and a local NGO, we implemented an educational program for elementary school children in Gowa (South Sulawesi Province), Banjarbaru (South Kalimantan Province), Sidoarjo (East Java Province), Tangerang (Banten Province) and Jakarta (the capital city) participate in the program. Approximately 8,000 children have participated in the program as of the end of 2020.
As in Vietnam, we teach about the importance of water, healthy water cycle, and the importance of preserving water resources through an original learning program. The program provides basic knowledge about water, addresses water pollution and how to eliminate it, and explores water preservation efforts that children can contribute to on an individual level. This contributes to improving children's awareness about environment in Indonesia.

Photo of Indonesia 1
Photo of Indonesia 2

Suntory Mizuiku-Education Program for Nature and Water in Indonesia

France

In July 2020, Suntory Beverage & Food France established a workshop-based water education program for elementary school students in partnership with Grand Parc Miribel Jonage, a nature park located near its Meyzieu Plant. The program includes content on the role forests have in cultivating water, experiments to show how rainwater becomes underground water, and more. It was developed as part of the partnership Suntory Beverage & Food France began with Grand Parc Miribel Jonage in 2017 for water conservancy.

Photo of France

Workshop-based water education program in France

Water Initiatives Worldwide

The Suntory Group businesses are supported and realized by precious global resources such as water. The global environment which holds the blessings of water and nature is a vital foundation of our businesses. We actively strive to coexist with the natural environment worldwide as we expand these businesses to pass down a sustainable society to the next generation. The Suntory Group will continue to engage in various initiatives in the future with the goal of becoming a global pioneer of environmental conservation.

Environmental Conservation Activities to Cultivate Water

Suntory Beverage & Food Europe

In France, Suntory Beverage & Food Europe entered into a 20-year partnership for the conservation of water resources in 2017 with Grand Parc Miribel Jonage, a nature park located next to the Meyzieu Plant. This partnership conducts conservation activities in the forest spanning the Grand Parc Miribel Jonage and supports educational programs for children, in addition to protecting water resources and the natural environment near the plant as well as promoting cultivation activities with the local community.
In Spain, Suntory Beverage & Food Europe engaged in ecosystem conservation activities with the cooperation of the local community in the hope of revitalizing the ecosystem in and around the Júcar river near its plant in Carcagente.

  • Photo of Grand Parc Miribel Jonage

Access to Safe Water

Suntory Beverage & Food Asia Pacific

In Vietnam, Suntory Beverage & Food Asia Pacific has been contributing to repairs and installations of toilets and washrooms mainly at schools taking part in the Suntory Mizuiku since 2015 to improve the sanitary environment for children.
In 2019, sediment based erosion was prevented by slowing the currents of streams in northern Chiang Mai Province, small weirs to support permeation of groundwater were installed, trees were planted to prevent soil from flowing into the streams, and other water resource preservation activities were carried out.
In Nairobi, Kenya, Suntory engages in activities to supply clean and safe drinking water to schools through the Kangemi Resource Centre, which supports the education of the local community and addresses water shortages.

Endorsing The CEO Water Mandate

The Suntory Group endorsed The CEO Water Mandate global platform to address water resource issues, which is a United Nations Global Compact initiative to support the prevalence, practice and informational disclosure of water sustainable at companies.

The CEO Water Mandate logo

Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Certification

In December 2021, Suntory Minami Alps Hakushu Water Plant in Japan achieved the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) certification for having met the global benchmark for responsible water stewardship, making it the company’s third plant to be certified against AWS Standard. In 2018, Suntory Okudaisen Bunanomori Water Plant became the first Japanese facility to receive certification under the AWS Standard, followed by the second certification in 2019 for Suntory Kyushu Kumamoto Plant.

As the only company with plants certified by the AWS in Japan, Suntory Group is promoting water stewardship in the country through a partnership with the AWS. The partnership will support awareness building campaigns as well as a Japanese-language version of the Standard, among other activities. This builds on the company’s established leadership in water stewardship, including Suntory Group’s inclusion as one of the three companies selected by the Science-Based Targets Network (SBTN) to contribute to piloting the draft methodology for setting science-based targets for water.

Photo of Suntory Kyushu Kumamoto Plant
AWS logo

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