Every Drop counts

Even in rainy Switzerland, it is worth saving water. To this end, Migros has been taking measures to save the valuable resource for many years. Last year, the retailer also checked imported products for their water consumption.

Our country has a very humid climate and therefore large drinking water supplies. But, like other resources too, Migros uses the blue gold as efficiently as possible and implements numerous water-saving measures every year. Since 1990, the total water consumption has fallen by 50%. Migros procures its water nearly exclusively from the communal drinking water supplies. The mineral water manufacturer Aproz and the operating head office of the Migros Aare Cooperative use spring water.

Imported products analysed

While there is no risk of a water shortage in Switzerland, where the overwhelming majority of Migros products are manufactured, the situation is more critical in southern cultivation and production countries. Migros analysed the situation last year and established that it is confronted with a water shortage by importing products from arid areas like southern Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Kenya and the Middle East. This refers, in particular, to raw materials from plants like fruit and vegetables, cotton and flowers. Although Migros did not detect any urgent need for action, it nevertheless intends to work towards international standards in the water area as part of GlobalGAP and other programmes, and to implement these as soon as they become available. The aim is to sell only products from areas where water supplies are used efficiently and the technology corresponds to the state of the art by 2014.

Tap closed

The industrial enterprises are the biggest water consumers within Migros. In recent years, consumption has been flat at about 5.8 million cubic metres per year, although production has increased. To achieve further savings, the enterprises are continuously implementing new measures. As such, Midor and Bina optimised the operation of their washing systems in 2011 in order to save water. The operating head offices can also continuously reduce their water consumption thanks to numerous measures. Since 2007, it has fallen by 32% to 320'000 million cubic metres. For the shops of the Migros cooperative, water consumption fell by 21% to 1.2 million cubic metres over the same period. They focus on hot water to save energy. But branches are nevertheless continuously improving their water consumption by installing waterless urinals.

Charts water consumption

Cooperative Retailing and Industry
CHART – Wasserverbrauch, absolut
CHART - Wasserverbrauch, spezifisch

1 Income Migros retail (Migros cooperatives, FMC, industrial and logistics enterprises)


Waste water treated correctly

Nearly 100% of households and all industrial enterprises are connected to the sewage system and therefore to a sewage plant in Switzerland. Accordingly, the water consumed by Migros is also discharged into the public sewage treatment plants. The waste water quantity corresponds approximately to the water quantity procured: Cooperative Retailing and industrial enterprises discharged a total of some 6.2 million cubic metres of water in 2011.
Special legal requirements apply for industrial waste water: industrial enterprises may only discharge their waste water into public sewage treatment plants if the required discharge values regarding water quality are not exceeded. The waste water of the ELSA milk processing enterprise, for instance, is therefore directed into the public sewage plant via basins and waste water pre-treatment. Clean water such as rain water, however, is kept away from the sewage system by the enterprises and shops as far as possible to relieve the sewage plant. The water seeps away or enters open bodies of water directly.