Used as a reference tool or integrated into existing management systems, this guideline compiles best practices on various sustainability aspects, including water. The step-wise approach allows for continuous improvement along the value chain of food and beverage processing companies.

Description

The Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP) is a framework that sets the international reference on best practice in terms of auditing process and methodology, auditing competence, reference requirements and management systems. The GSCP Reference Tools cover both social aspects such as labour conditions and rights, and a range of environmental sustainability issues; among them water, assisting companies in covering sustainability issues through one single framework and approach. Three performance levels (1 to 3) offer companies appropriate guidelines, being at early or late stages of developing environmental management programmes and systems. The GSCP reference codes can either be integrated by users into their respective systems or used as reference for comparing existing tools through the GSCP Equivalence Process. The GSCP does not monitor nor audit compliance but rather serves to promote harmonisation by presenting a shared, global approach to sustainable supply chains.

The environmental reference tools are based on a multi-level approach where companies can move from awareness and compliance to leading practice, enabling them to achieve progress over time. The GSCP reference requirements can be used by all raw material processing, agricultural manufacturing and logistics sites in the supply chain. The GSCP is housed by the Consumer Goods Forum, a cross-industrial retailer and manufacturer body, driven by its 37 member companies from a number of industries. Members include food producers and retailers such as ICA, Coop, M&S, Dole, Tesco and Unilever.

Farming

Level 1: The company needs to make sure it meets its legal requirements of water provision, abstraction, transfer etc. and that relevant permits are held and compliance maintained. Water consumption quantities should be measured.

Level 2: There should be formal systems and processes in place to manage and audit water consumption, water consumption data should be available to relevant stakeholders. Water consumption efficiency targets are reviewed on an annual basis to drive continuous improvement and there should be demonstrable achievement of water efficiency targets.

Level 3: Water consumption levels are sustainable within local ecosystem limits and water catchment area, investigation of and use, if relevant, of alternative water sources with lower ecosystem impact. There should be demonstrable achievement of stretching water efficiency targets beyond recognized international standard practice, leading practice water efficiency mechanisms including engagement with appropriate stakeholders to improve water efficiency.

Level 1: There must be a compliance with prohibited chemicals lists (e.g. for agrochemicals from WHO) and such substances must be safely stored to avoid water contamination.

Level 2: Specific pollution prevention mechanisms are considered in agricultural production including optimization of agrochemical input. There should be a team to deal with pollution incidents.

Level 3: “Zero pollution incident” target and policy in place, detailed pollutions prevention inspections conducted. The company shall promote the use of non-hazardous and non-toxic alternative substances and there should be demonstrable achievement of stretching hazardous substances reduction/substitution targets beyond recognized international standard practice. There must be engagement with appropriate stakeholders down the value chain to improve hazardous substance use.

Level 1: There must be a compliance with prohibited chemicals lists (e.g. for agrochemicals from WHO) and such substances must be safely stored to avoid water contamination.

Level 2: Specific pollution prevention mechanisms are considered in agricultural production including optimization of agrochemical input. There should be a team to deal with pollution incidents.

Level 3: “Zero pollution incident” target and policy in place, detailed pollutions prevention inspections conducted. The company shall promote the use of non-hazardous and non-toxic alternative substances and there should be demonstrable achievement of stretching hazardous substances reduction/substitution targets beyond recognized international standard practice. There must be engagement with appropriate stakeholders down the value chain to improve hazardous substance use.

Level 1: The company needs to make sure it meets its legal requirements in relation to planning and development and that permits are held and compliance maintained. There must be no negative impact on designated protection areas or species.

Level 2: There should be formal systems and processes in place to manage land use and biodiversity. In agricultural production there is proactive management to maintain soil fertility, avoid soil erosion and promote soil and biodiversity recovery. Where appropriate there is demonstrable improvement in land use and biodiversity performance including deforestation, rehabilitation and conservation activities.

Level 3: Leading practice requires that the site’s land use is sustainable within the local ecosystem context, that the company takes on a leadership role in biodiversity conservation, that there are leading practice mechanisms in place to promote biodiversity and leading practice land management, engagement with relevant stakeholders down the value chain and demonstrable achievement of stretching targets beyond recognized international standard practice.

Level 1: Legal requirements of wastewater generation, handling etc. met; relevant permits held and compliance maintained. There should be a drainage plan in place with general understanding of wastewater flow direction and discharge points, identification of contaminants and their impact.

Level 2: Formal systems to manage wastewater effluent in place; basic on-site wastewater treatment in place or connection to off-site wastewater treatment system; regular testing/monitoring undertaken; demonstrable achievements in wastewater quality.

Level 3: Leading practice wastewater treatment and water efficiency mechanisms in place, including re-use, recovery and recycling, also of grey water.

Level 1: Legal requirements met; relevant permits held and compliance maintained; tracking of energy consumption/calculation of GHG emissions including fuel use for on-site transport.

Level 2: Formal systems and processes in place to manage and audit energy use and GHG emissions; calculations of energy consumption and GHG emissions available to relevant stakeholders; renewable energy use targets and GHG emission reduction targets established and reviewed annually, demonstrable reduction in energy.

Level 3: Leading practice mechanisms to reduce GHG intensity; use of energy sources of less GHG intensity (consumption level that is sustainable within availability of local sources; demonstrable achievement of stretching energy and fuel efficiency and GHG emission targets beyond recognized international standard practice); engagement along the supply chain; carbon accounting in business system; specifications of most environmentally efficient combinations of vehicle types, fuels and technologies for distribution fleet; annual review of fuel consumption and vehicle emission reduction targets.

Level 1: The company needs to make sure it meets its legal requirements and that permits are held and compliance maintained in relation to wastewater generation and contaminated land, including assessment, investigation and remediation, soil and groundwater pollution prevention. There should be a drainage plan in place with general understanding of wastewater flow direction and discharge points, identification of contaminants and their impact. Sensitive receptors in the site’s vicinity must not be knowingly contaminated.

Level 2: There should be formal systems and processes in place to manage contaminated soil and groundwater, including a risk assessment to identify risks, implementation of relevant measures and stakeholders are informed. Additionally, there should be formal systems in place to manage wastewater effluent; basic on-site wastewater treatment or connection to off-site wastewater treatment system; regular testing/monitoring and demonstrable achievements in wastewater quality. In agricultural production there should be proactive management to maintain soil fertility, avoid soil erosion and promote soil and biodiversity recovery; improvement in land use including deforestation, rehabilitation and conservation activities.

Level 3: Leading practice requires that a sustainable wastewater effluent quality and volume is ensured in the context of local receptors and ecosystem limits; leading practice on wastewater treatment; reuse of grey water; demonstrable achievement of stretching wastewater effluent quality improvement and volume reduction targets; engagement along the supply chain. Additionally, a “zero contamination” target and policy should be in place, with proactive management of soil and groundwater quality, leading practice techniques to prevent further and/or future contamination, proactive engagement with stakeholders in the local community to ensure awareness and with relevant stakeholders down the value chain for prevention and management.

Level 1: The company needs to make sure it meets its legal requirements and that permits are held and compliance maintained in relation to contaminated land, including assessment, investigation and remediation, soil and groundwater pollution prevention. There should be an understanding and awareness of sensitive receptors in the site’s vicinity, and these should not be knowingly contaminated.

Level 2: There should be formal systems and processes in place to manage contaminated soil and groundwater, including a risk assessment to identify risks, implementation of relevant measures and stakeholders are informed. In agricultural production there should be proactive management to maintain soil fertility, avoid soil erosion and promote soil and biodiversity recovery, improvement in land use including deforestation, rehabilitation and conservation activities.

Level 3: Leading practice requires that a “zero contamination” target and policy is in place, that there is a proactive management of soil and groundwater quality, leading practice techniques to prevent further and/or future contamination, proactive engagement with stakeholders in the local community to ensure awareness and with relevant stakeholders down the value chain for prevention and management.

Level 1: The company needs to make sure it meets its legal requirements and that permits are held and compliance maintained in relation to contaminated land, including assessment, investigation and remediation, soil and groundwater pollution prevention. There should be an understanding and awareness of sensitive receptors in the site’s vicinity, and these should not be knowingly contaminated.

Level 2: There should be formal systems and processes in place to manage contaminated soil and groundwater, including a risk assessment to identify risks, implementation of relevant measures and stakeholders are informed. In agricultural production there should be proactive management to maintain soil fertility, avoid soil erosion and promote soil and biodiversity recovery, improvement in land use including deforestation, rehabilitation and conservation activities.

Level 3: Leading practice requires that a “zero contamination” target and policy is in place, that there is a proactive management of soil and groundwater quality, leading practice techniques to prevent further and/or future contamination, proactive engagement with stakeholders in the local community to ensure awareness and with relevant stakeholders down the value chain for prevention and management.

Level 1: The company needs to make sure it meets its legal requirements and that permits are held and compliance maintained in relation to contaminated land, including assessment, investigation and remediation, soil and groundwater pollution prevention. There should be an understanding and awareness of sensitive receptors in the site’s vicinity, and these should not be knowingly contaminated.

Level 2: There should be formal systems and processes in place to manage contaminated soil and groundwater, including a risk assessment to identify risks, implementation of relevant measures and stakeholders are informed. In agricultural production there should be proactive management to maintain soil fertility, avoid soil erosion and promote soil and biodiversity recovery, improvement in land use including deforestation, rehabilitation and conservation activities.

Level 3: Leading practice requires that a “zero contamination” target and policy is in place, that there is a proactive management of soil and groundwater quality, leading practice techniques to prevent further and/or future contamination, proactive engagement with stakeholders in the local community to ensure awareness and with relevant stakeholders down the value chain for prevention and management.

Processing

Level 1: The company needs to make sure it meets its legal requirements of water provision, abstraction, transfer etc. and that relevant permits are held and compliance maintained. Water consumption quantities should be measured.

Level 2: There should be formal systems and processes in place to manage and audit water consumption, water consumption data should be available to relevant stakeholders. Water consumption efficiency targets are reviewed on an annual basis to drive continuous improvement and there should be demonstrable achievement of water efficiency targets.

Level 3: Water consumption levels are sustainable within local ecosystem limits and water catchment area, investigation of and use, if relevant, of alternative water sources with lower ecosystem impact. There should be demonstrable achievement of stretching water efficiency targets beyond recognized international standard practice, leading practice water efficiency mechanisms including engagement with appropriate stakeholders to improve water efficiency.

Level 1: The company needs to make sure it meets its legal requirements and that permits are held and compliance maintained in relation to wastewater generation and contaminated land, including assessment, investigation and remediation, soil and groundwater pollution prevention. There should be a drainage plan in place with general understanding of wastewater flow direction and discharge points, identification of contaminants and their impact. Sensitive receptors in the site’s vicinity must not be knowingly contaminated.

Level 2: There should be formal systems and processes in place to manage contaminated soil and groundwater, including a risk assessment to identify risks, implementation of relevant measures and stakeholders are informed. Additionally, there should be formal systems in place to manage wastewater effluent; basic on-site wastewater treatment or connection to off-site wastewater treatment system; regular testing/monitoring and demonstrable achievements in wastewater quality. In agricultural production there should be proactive management to maintain soil fertility, avoid soil erosion and promote soil and biodiversity recovery; improvement in land use including deforestation, rehabilitation and conservation activities.

Level 3: Leading practice requires that a sustainable wastewater effluent quality and volume is ensured in the context of local receptors and ecosystem limits; leading practice on wastewater treatment; reuse of grey water; demonstrable achievement of stretching wastewater effluent quality improvement and volume reduction targets; engagement along the supply chain. Additionally, a “zero contamination” target and policy should be in place, with proactive management of soil and groundwater quality, leading practice techniques to prevent further and/or future contamination, proactive engagement with stakeholders in the local community to ensure awareness and with relevant stakeholders down the value chain for prevention and management.

Level 1: Legal requirements of waste management are met; relevant permits held and compliance maintained. Regular checks that waste contractors have appropriate permits; hazardous and non-hazardous waste is segregated and employee awareness and training provided; inventory/management/storage/transportation procedures for hazardous waste streams; records of on-site and off-site waste disposal/treatment maintained; no on-site waste burning or uncontrolled waste landfilling.

Level 2: Formal systems and processes to manage waste generation, storage, transportation and disposal; evaluation of waste management contractors; engagement with suppliers to identify waste avoidance/reduction/recycling/reuse opportunities; segregation of waste streams in line with recognized international standard practice; monitoring and measurement of waste generated and recycled, data available to stakeholders; annual review of waste reduction and recycling targets; demonstrable waste reduction.

Level 3: Sustainable waste disposal method and volume in the context of local operating environment and availability of waste treatment and disposal facilities; leading practice to minimise resource use and achieve waste reduction/recycling/energy from waste; demonstrable achievement of stretching waste reduction/recycling targets beyond recognized international standard practice; engagement with appropriate stakeholders along the value chain to identify waste avoidance/reduction/recycling/reuse/energy from waste measures.

Level 1: Legal requirements of wastewater generation, handling etc. met; relevant permits held and compliance maintained. There should be a drainage plan in place with general understanding of wastewater flow direction and discharge points, identification of contaminants and their impact.

Level 2: Formal systems to manage wastewater effluent in place; basic on-site wastewater treatment in place or connection to off-site wastewater treatment system; regular testing/monitoring undertaken; demonstrable achievements in wastewater quality.

Level 3: Leading practice wastewater treatment and water efficiency mechanisms in place, including re-use, recovery and recycling, also of grey water.

Level 1: Legal requirements met; relevant permits held and compliance maintained; tracking of energy consumption/calculation of GHG emissions including fuel use for on-site transport.

Level 2: Formal systems and processes in place to manage and audit energy use and GHG emissions; calculations of energy consumption and GHG emissions available to relevant stakeholders; renewable energy use targets and GHG emission reduction targets established and reviewed annually, demonstrable reduction in energy.

Level 3: Leading practice mechanisms to reduce GHG intensity; use of energy sources of less GHG intensity (consumption level that is sustainable within availability of local sources; demonstrable achievement of stretching energy and fuel efficiency and GHG emission targets beyond recognized international standard practice); engagement along the supply chain; carbon accounting in business system; specifications of most environmentally efficient combinations of vehicle types, fuels and technologies for distribution fleet; annual review of fuel consumption and vehicle emission reduction targets.

Level 1: Legal requirements met; relevant permits held and compliance maintained; tracking of energy consumption/calculation of GHG emissions including fuel use for on-site transport.

Level 2: Formal systems and processes in place to manage and audit energy use and GHG emissions; calculations of energy consumption and GHG emissions available to relevant stakeholders; renewable energy use targets and GHG emission reduction targets established and reviewed annually, demonstrable reduction in energy.

Level 3: Leading practice mechanisms to reduce GHG intensity; use of energy sources of less GHG intensity (consumption level that is sustainable within availability of local sources; demonstrable achievement of stretching energy and fuel efficiency and GHG emission targets beyond recognized international standard practice); engagement along the supply chain; carbon accounting in business system; specifications of most environmentally efficient combinations of vehicle types, fuels and technologies for distribution fleet; annual review of fuel consumption and vehicle emission reduction targets.

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