‘Careful and considerate’: UAE mineral water giant Agthia intensifies group sustainability initiatives

By Pearly Neo contact

- Last updated on GMT

UAE mineral water market leader Agthia has stepped up its sustainability efforts with the announcement of new long-term goals and partnerships targeted at reducing negative impacts on the environment, especially with its water bottles. ©Getty Images
UAE mineral water market leader Agthia has stepped up its sustainability efforts with the announcement of new long-term goals and partnerships targeted at reducing negative impacts on the environment, especially with its water bottles. ©Getty Images

Related tags: Agthia, Water, Packaging, Sustainability

UAE mineral water market leader Agthia has stepped up its sustainability efforts with the announcement of new long-term goals and partnerships targeted at reducing negative impacts on the environment.

The company announced that it aims for all of its packaging to be 100% eco-friendly by 2020, as well as to achieve zero landfill waste by this date. At present, 100% of Agthia’s secondary packaging used in all of its product categories is already recyclable, and 99% of this is biodegradeable.

It has also committed that for all of the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) it uses, by 2021 10% will be sourced from recyclable sources, and 5% from plant-based sources.

“Agthia as a company bases ourselves on innovation and ensuring food security, and as such many of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts are a blend of both of these components,” ​Agthia Group CEO Tariq Ahmed Al Wahedi told FoodNavigator-Asia.

“[We have] from the onset adopted a careful and considered approach, integrating best environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) practices in our business and avoiding any harm to the environment and all others who may be effected, directly or indirectly by our manufacturing activities in all locations.”

As part of its efforts to incorporate innovation into its CSR efforts, Agthia has also partnered with packaging company DGrade, which specialises in eco-manufacturing. DGrade uses recycled plastic bottles to make eco-friendly products such as clothing and bags, effectively leading to a closed-loop supply chain.

As part of this collaboration, DGrade will collect plastic bottles from Agthia and process these into textiles, which Agthia will then donate to charity. 

"[Agthia has] been working silently for years to ensure [we are] not only bringing innovation and value to our customers and shareholders, but also looking out for the environment’s best interest,” ​added Al Wahedi.

“We [are] committed to further enhancing sustainability throughout the Agthia group, across all our operations, geographies and touchpoints.”

More on DGrade

The Agthia-DGrade collaboration is a significant one, as Agthia leads the region in terms of mineral water and as such is bound to produce large numbers of plastic bottles.

Plastic bottles are one of the biggest contributors to plastic worldwide, with over one million plastic bottles bought per minute globally​, a number expected to reach half a trillion by 2021. Multiple large corporations such as Nestle and Unilever have previously been called out over their plastic waste management​.

According to the DGrade website, their process is quite straightforward: The plastic bottles are collected, washed, flaked and sorted, then melted using heat to produce fibres that can be made into yarn.

“This yarn can be woven or knitted in the same way as conventional fabric, thus helping to create a sustainable system for recycling waste back into everyday products, such as clothing, toys etc.,”​ said DGrade.

Some of its current bigger name clients include Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Mars.

Agthia year-end financial results

According to Agthia’s financial report for the year ended December 31 2018, the company made total revenues of some AED2bn (US$544mn), and this was led by its Water division at AED 800mn (US$218mn).

The company’s flagship product, Al Ain water, remained a firm market leader with 28% market share, and in combination with the other Agthia water brands Al Bayan and Alpin, the company’s market share stood at 30%.

Agthia posted net profit for the year at AED211mn (US$57mn), 2.1% higher than in 2017.

Related topics: Soft Drinks & Water, Sustainability

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