From creating Europe’s first protected water catchment area in 1889 to co-creating the Parc Naturel des Sources in 2017, protecting our natural water catchment areas has always been the leading priority for Spadel. This commitment to safeguarding nature’s most vital resource is just one of many reasons that the Alliance for Water Stewardship awarded Spa Monopole Platinum certification in August 2020. A European first for any natural mineral water company.
Although 71% of our planet is water just 3% of it is fresh water, making it our most precious resource. Used for drinking, growing crops and even manufacturing, fresh water is the very basis for life on Earth. With growing populations and economies, changing lifestyles and global climate change putting ever more pressure on our water tables, good stewardship has become more important than ever before.
“Stewardship is about taking care of something that we do not own. Good water stewards recognise the need for collective responses to the complex challenges facing the water resources we all rely on.” – AWS
The Alliance for Water Stewardship, or AWS, is a global benchmark for responsible water stewardship. As a global membership organisation, its members comprise businesses, NGOs and the public sector. Members contribute to the sustainability of local water resources through their adoption and promotion of a universal framework for the sustainable use of water – the International Water Stewardship Standard, or AWS Standard – that drives, recognizes and rewards good water stewardship performance.
The AWS Standard is independently verified and certified. Achieving certification is no mean feat as members are strictly audited. There are three levels – Core, Gold, Platinum – which are assessed for performance across advanced criteria. Most players in the mineral water industry achieve Core certification. The fact that Spa Monopole was certified as Platinum in August 2020 is not just recognition of our dedication and hard work, it is also a first for the European mineral water industry.
“Thanks to our long history of protection measures, our current water management practices, and our future facing vision, we have been able to demonstrate we truly are a five-star manager of water.” – Arnaud Collignon, Water Resources Manager, Spadel
Joining the Global Elite
A number of areas of activity were key in Spa Monopole achieving Platinum water stewardship. First off, AWS took into account the impact of past actions that improved local environmental protection. The most important ones here were the creation of the first protected area in Spa in 1889; signing the Modus Vivendi in 1967 with the City of Spa, the Walloon Department of Nature and Forest and Domaine de Berinzenne to further increase the protection of our catchment area and improve local biodiversity; and the co-creation of the Parc Naturel des Sources in 2017.
Next up, our many and varied water and environmental protection programmes stood out to AWS. We implemented a 15-year long fuel tank removal and compliance programme, co-funded the restoration of the natural wetlands around Spa under the LIFE Ardenne-Liegeoise programme, developed a Springs Emergency Plan and implemented an environmental monitoring project that uses bees and their pollen to analyse local biodiversity and to prove there are no pesticides in the protected area.
“Gold and Platinum status are rewards / recognition of those sites that push their water stewardship performance to elite level.” – AWS
A multi-stakeholder approach is another pre-requisite for AWS and Spadel is proud to have so many excellent collaborations and an open dialogue with a wide variety of stakeholders. Joint programmes range from environmental protection and restoration to safeguarding biodiversity and our planet’s water tables. On a side note, Spa Monopole is seen as an excellent water steward by more than 80% of the 28 stakeholders consulted during our 2020 review.
Industry Thought Leadership
Finally, we always follow best practices water management. Our automatic monitoring tool for water extraction, dispatching, treatment and discharge relies on cutting edge technology. It collects all sorts of information on natural water levels, flow rates and other data that helps us ensure we extract water sustainably, avoiding leakage and water loss.
“Fresh water is not infinite and we must take good care of it. Sustainable water management means drawing water without ever overexploiting our sources so that we have enough water today, as well as for tomorrow and for future generations.” – Arnaud Collignon, Water Resources Manager, Spadel
Achieving AWS Platinum status is perhaps the most important international recognition we could receive. Sustainable water management has been our leading focus ever since we first started extracting natural mineral water from Spa Monopole. We take great care to never draw more water than is replenished by natural rain falland continue our efforts to further reduce our water use ratio (WUR).
Fresh water is vital to life on Earth and safeguarding the purity of our ground water is essential if we want to maintain our status as a provider of natural mineral water. Moreover, we aim to achieve Platinum certification for our other sites in Belgium, France and Bulgaria by 2025 and will do everything we can to make this a reality.
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