Source from the source

Both the public and private sectors have been through a generation of outsourcing and, although there’s a sense the tide is now turning on this, one resource you perhaps didn’t expect to see self-supplied is water.   

However, the opening of the UK’s water retail market in April 2017 gives non-household customers more choice over where and how they source their water, and most importantly the ability to supply themselves.

Tapping into wholesale prices

It makes total sense that high water-consuming businesses are among the first choosing to self-supply in the open water market.

Ofwat (the UK’s water market regulator) has already granted licences to Greene King, Whitbread, Marston’s, Stonegate Pub Company, Heineken and Coca Cola European Partners.

For drinks manufacturers, water is so much more than just a utility; it’s a key ingredient in the product itself. By becoming their own retailers for water and dealing directly with wholesalers these companies gain complete control of their water consumption and costs.

In fact, four of these hospitality giants (Greene King, Whitbread, Marston’s and Stonegate Pub Company) have together saved 392,315m³ since they switched to self-supply – the equivalent of over 690 million pints.

As their own water suppliers, they say they also get a better service than via national retailers, with greater control of their usage data and therefore more accuracy in billing – as well as the opportunity to influence the market.

Making it happen

Feel you’d like to put a toe in the water? Or worried about getting in too deep? M2030’s content partner Waterscan can help.

Waterscan runs a self-supply service to navigate the complexities of the market. They’ll support you in gaining and maintaining your licence and managing the admin side of self-supplying water once you’re up and running.

Which is what Kellogg’s are now doing: it’s the breakfast brand’s turn to apply for a water and sewerage self-supply licence for its Manchester site, its largest manufacturing operation in Europe.

Paul Wrigley, plant director at the Kellogg’s Manchester site explains:

“After looking at our options, we decided that having a water self-supply licence will help us meet our water reduction targets faster as we will have complete control over and trust in our data. It is important to us that we work with the Waterscan team of experts through the self-supply process. The company’s innovative and forward-thinking approach is very similar to our own company values.” 

Water is integral to Kellogg’s operations, so water reduction is a key pillar in the company’s global 2020 sustainability commitments. Kellogg’s also recognises that increasing water scarcity is a global risk for communities around the world, including those where it sources ingredients and manufactures food. With the Manchester site being such a large operation, any reductions will make a significant contribution towards Kellogg’s target to reduce water usage by 15% against a 2015 baseline.

Once Ofwat has completed its due diligence on the licence application, Kellogg’s will be able to benefit from having greater control over its trade effluent discharge, generate savings by paying wholesale prices and have voting rights – which will give large-scale manufacturing organisations a greater customer voice in the UK water marketplace. 


Keen to find out more about the content of this article, or about the Hive?

Get in touch by emailing stuartwhinney@manufacture2030.com!