Protecting water resources

Natural mineral water is a product of nature

It’s produced by rain or snow falling on the source’s watershed and then being filtered through various rock strata over many years. Unlike many other types of water, natural mineral water doesn’t undergo chemical treatment to improve its quality.

At first glance, it’s hard to distinguish between tap and mineral water. And yet, they’re two completely different products. While mineral water is naturally pure, tap water is a product of technology. This can be seen by comparing various aspects.

Around 90 additives are permitted in tap water

Natural mineral water is distinctive because of its natural purity and cannot undergo chemical treatment to improve its quality.

By contrast, the physical, chemical and microbiological treatment of tap water – which is made up of 70% groundwater and 30% surface water in Germany – is permitted and also necessary in many places before consumers can drink it. Water suppliers can use around 90 additives and 9 disinfection procedures to purify, de-acidify, soften or desalinate water. This means tap water is chemically purified instead of naturally pure*.

While the quality of ground water is generally good, treatment is required in many regions, according to the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA). However, the UBA says that surface water must always be treated.

Natural mineral water guarantees natural purity

Natural mineral water, which comes from water deep underground that is protected against impurities, is naturally pure at the source and immediately drinkable. 

The limits and guidelines set out in the German Mineral and Table Waters Ordinance (MTVO) apply to all mineral springs. More stringent limits apply to natural mineral water than to tap water. Natural mineral water is also the only officially recognised mineral water in Germany. Disinfection with chlorine or other chemicals is strictly prohibited. The high quality standard is always fully guaranteed right up to when the bottle is opened as natural mineral water is bottled directly at source to ensure its natural purity. More information can be found on the website Dialog Mineralwasser.


We’re taking action to conserve and restore water resources. Today and for generations to come.

Water is essential for all life on the planet as well as for our modern economy. Freshwater only accounts for 2.5% of all water on the planet and it is unequally distributed. As the human population continues to grow constantly, the shortage of water has become a major social and environmental issue which is being exacerbated by climate change. As part of our ‘One Planet. One Health’ vision, we take our corporate responsibility seriously and use our reach to make a positive impact. We provide relief for regions faced with water shortages by helping to maintain and restore eco-systems, wetlands and water cycles by applying the principles of the circular economy within and outside of our production plants and by striving to provide safe drinking water for as many people as possible.

We’ve developed a water strategy based on three pillars:


A. Agriculture

Support of regenerative agriculture that respects natural eco-systems and water cycles. 

As agriculture accounts for 89% of water consumption, the health and sustainability of our agricultural supply chain is a key priority in our water policy and our regenerative agriculture programme. We’ve developed a collaborative approach to ensure appropriate and reliable water management for agricultural production. We work closely with farmers to jointly develop smart ways of using water and sustainable farming models that meet local requirements – always in cooperation with the relevant public and academic partners.

Regenerative cultivation of strawberries in Mexico and Morocco

In Mexico and Morocco – two major regions for strawberry production – Danone promotes regenerative agricultural practices among farmers. They receive training, technical support and incentives to improve water management on their farms, to reduce water usage and to achieve the right quality using fewer pesticides. These practices make farmers more competitive, improve their working conditions and strengthen their relationship with their ecosystems. This enables them to make their activities more sustainable.

In Mexico, these measures have helped farmers to improve water quality by ensuring less fertiliser seeps into the ground and surface water. Here, the share of organic fertiliser being used has gone up by 15%, while use of pesticides has fallen by 15%. This has also improved their livelihoods with a 30% increase in net income on average.

We’re conducting research on almonds in Spain

The Danone brand Alpro, the leading brand for plant-based foods in Europe, has – in collaboration with the WWF and other partners, such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature – developed a pilot project called ‘We only have one planet – lead the change’. In Spain, the project provides support for growers who make up 10% of total almond procurement for the brand.

Instead of simply defining water efficiency targets, this project aims to set production goals based on clear sustainable limits. Extensive studies have been carried out to help Alpro and its suppliers to gain a better understanding of the watersheds where the almonds come from and to define targeted action plans for other companies within the supply chain.


We use nature-based solutions to preserve the water resources in the watersheds where we operate. 

In collaboration with an in-house team of hydrologists with over 20 years of experience in total, we have – together with local municipalities, water users and public authorities – developed water management plans to optimise the sustainability of water management and ensure appropriate watershed stewardship. By focusing on landscape-based approaches and nature-oriented solutions – such as agroforestry, wetland conservation and optimising agriculture – we achieve many benefits, including improvement of biodiversity, soil health, carbon sequestration, sustainable water resource management and the betterment of livelihoods.

Joint action in Indonesia

Danone, the Danone Ecosystem Fund and the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) have joined forces in Indonesia to protect the Rejoso watershed which is under threat. Various nature-based solutions have been used to improve water conditions, mitigate flood risks and minimise erosion. Based on several scientific studies carried out in cooperation with universities, the focus is now on more climate-smart rice cultivation practices in the downstream area, as well as on borehole management to improve efficiency and ensure more sustainable water use.

Depending on the scale of the project, verified reductions of 10 to 40% in water use have been achieved. This method also cuts carbon emissions and chemical pesticides and has improved farmers’ livelihoods by increasing their net income by 20%. 

Action in the evian® watershed in France

Since 1992, evian® has been committed to safeguarding the long-term quality of its watersheds in partnership with the APIEME (Association for the Protection of the Impluvium of evian® Mineral Water). In 2008, the International Ramsar Convention included the Impluvium in its list of wetlands of international importance due to the ecological quality of its marshes and bogs. In cooperation with Terragr'eau, the APIEME has developed a biodigester that converts livestock effluent and organic waste from farmers into biogas for 1,200 residents of the town of Evian-les-Bains and organic compost to fertilise the local soil.

Most of the agricultural land in the watershed now uses biofertiliser. A dedicated cooperative of farmers manages the compost spreading process, which reduces fertiliser costs and supports sustainable agricultural development.

Protecting a nature reserve in Argentina

The Fundación Villavicencio was founded to enable local citizens to collectively manage the Villavicencio Nature Reserve in Argentina in an eco-friendly way. The foundation’s key areas of action are: Education on sustainability, conservation of historical, archaeological and biological heritage, protection of water resources and ecosystems, and support of scientific research.

The conservation plan for the watershed covers 72,000 ha, is designated as a ‘site of international importance’ by the Ramsar Convention and protects 250 animal and 327 plant species. In 2019, nearly 5,000 children participated in its education programme and a total of 240,000 people visited the reserve.


We’re endeavouring to further reduce water consumption, clean effluent more thoroughly and improve the water cycles in our operations and beyond.

We have been working for more than 20 years to improve water use efficiency and wastewater quality in our operations. As part of these efforts, we conduct specific risk assessments using a new water risk filter tool developed by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). This enables us to prioritise production plants at higher risk from water shortage. We are developing mitigation programmes and environmental roadmaps to reduce water use in operations and improve the cleanliness of our wastewater through a high-level internal standard called the Danone Clean Water Standard. We are stepping up our efforts at sites in high-risk areas, as well as at all our other locations.

Zero Impact Operations in Belgium

At Danone’s Rotselaar dairy in Belgium, the Waterless project is part of the Zero Impact Operations programme. Using two-stage filtration technologies, wastewater is treated and recovered directly as clean water for reuse in factory processes. This helps to close the plant’s water cycle, enabling 75% of the water to be fed back into operations and reused. This reduces overall water consumption and pressure on groundwater supplies.

Zero-water factory in India

To address the potential risk of water scarcity, our Specialised Nutrition Division’s production facilities in Lalru, India, use the 4R method: reduce, reuse, recycle and reclaim. Over the last three years, water consumption in plant operations has been reduced by 52% through water reduction and reuse. The site has also introduced rainwater harvesting techniques which aim to return twice the amount of water used by the plant to the groundwater. The plant is now installing an innovative water recycling solution for its fresh milk processing.

A second life for water in Mexico

In Mexico, water gets a second life thanks to our Bonafont brand as purified water is donated to third-party users. The team analyses the chemical and physical condition of wastewater, assesses water demand in the outside world and defines efficient water treatment and transport processes. The initiative has strengthened cooperation between the various users of the aquifer and reduced pressure on water resources. As a result, almost 300,000 m3 of water was provided to a nearby business in 2019.


We promote innovation to bring clean drinking water to the people who need it most.

Since 2007, Danone Communities has been bringing safe water to vulnerable communities in many parts of the world through its investments. The Social Business Fund supports social entrepreneurs and their innovative companies that aim to provide low-income sections of the population with access to water or healthy food. Danone Communities provides the resources required, including capital, technological expertise and strong networks. So far, eight social entrepreneurs have received support for access to water, reaching over five million people every day.

Water kiosks in India

In 2005, the Naandi Foundation opened its first water kiosk in rural India. A few years later, Naandi Community Water Services was established as a joint venture with Danone Communities to jointly develop solutions for sustainable water management. Step by step, water kiosks were successfully set up. Local communities provide the land required, while Naandi Community Water Services contributes its expertise.

The kiosks are managed by a local operator appointed by the community. They are equipped to treat bacterial and chemical contaminants that are often present in groundwater. In addition, activities are conducted annually in villages and schools to raise awareness of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) best practices. Naandi Community Water Services opened its 647th water kiosk in 2019. The kiosks now provide clean water to over 700,000 people every day.

Find out about more Danone Communities projects here

AQUA’s partnership in Indonesia

To improve access to water, our water brand AQUA is partnering with For every 1-litre AQUA bottle purchased, the brand ensures access to 10 litres of clean water for communities in need. This is achieved through a water credit programme and cooperation with local financial institutions.


As financing is one of the main obstacles to access to water in Indonesia, AQUA and are working together to ensure that rural communities receive more affordable loans. These can then be used to buy pumps, dig boreholes or extend domestic water connections. So far, clean water has been delivered to over 54,000 Indonesians in their households. Similar models are being developed and used by other Danone water brands, such as Villa del Sur in Argentina.



As part of the Danone Impact Journey, our commitments in relation to water cover two key aspects:  Firstly, we aim to preserve and restore watersheds in the locations where we operate. Secondly, we want to reduce our water footprint across the entire value chain.

To attain these goals, we’re implementing two measures in particular. The target date is 2030:

  1. We’re implementing the 4R approach (reduce, reuse, recycle and reclaim) at all of our production facilities. An example of this is our zero-water plant in India.
  2. We’re taking action to protect and restore watersheds.

Danone awarded ‘Triple A’ by the CDP for its leadership role in environmental affairs

In 2022, Danone received the top score of AAA for the fourth consecutive year from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an international NGO. The CDP runs a global disclosure and ranking system that enables investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impact. This score means Danone is recognised as a leader in environmental protection and remediation – including water management based on our awareness of water-related issues, effective management methods and progress in our approach to water. We’re not stopping here. We’ll continue taking courageous steps towards a more sustainable future.