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The implementation of the European Water Stewardship Multisite standard

Under Enterprise Ireland’s Business Process Improvement Grants, client companies can apply for funding towards the cost of undertaking a GreenPlus training assignment. Assignments are designed to assist company managers to develop a high level of environmental management capabilities, drive environmental efficiencies and achieve improved sustainability. ​Find out more here 

Case Study – ABP Ireland

ABP Food Group is one of Europe’s largest privately-owned agribusinesses with 9,000 staff and 41 manufacturing plants. Headquartered in Ardee, Co. Louth, ABP Food Group operates across four divisions throughout Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe. With sixty years of industry experience, we’ve developed a reputation for quality, efficiency and innovation.

ABP Ireland is one of Europe’s largest beef exporter, specialising in beef processing, de-boning and retail packaging. ABP Ireland is a division of the larger ABP Food Group and is supported by ABP Pet Food and ABP Proteins. ABP Food Group works with a network of over 35,000 farmers and contributes an estimated €1.3 billion to rural economies each year.

Project Objectives 

  • Implement the European Water Stewardship (EWS) Multisite Standard scheme across a number of ABP sites in Ireland.
  • Training individuals across the group on the EWS standard.
  • Training of central Management Entity on the implementation, management and control of the EWS Multisite Standard scheme.
  • Development of web based Internal Control System.

Key Challenges 

  • At ABP, sustainability is a big word but it’s an even bigger responsibility. We believe it is our duty to do everything we can to ensure that our growth is not at the expense of our natural environment. After all, it is our natural environment that sustains our business, so we are developing our business to sustain our environment. ABP has an important role to play both on site and throughout the entire supply chain, therefore a holistic approach to resource management is vital. We continuously strives to decouple increased resource consumption from increased productivity – we aim to “Do More With Less”
  • The EWS accreditation process is an independent verification to ensure that the water management system is compliant with the EWS standard requirements. Successful multi-site certification would further endorse ABP’s credentials in the area of sustainability and underpin its competitive position.

Key Changes 

  • Assigned water champions at individual sites to drive water stewardship and best practices.
  • Assigned Management Entity to manage the multisite group.
  • Implementation of an internal control system to manage the multisite activities and requirements.

Results / Outcomes 

  • Robust document control system.
  • Scope to expand this document control system to other environmental management systems.
  • Greater knowledge of water stewardship and best practices in water management across each of the member sites.
  • Standardised and streamlined water management across each of the member sites.
  • Greater oversight and visibility of site level water management and key performance indicators.
  • Embedding continuous improvement activities into the management of water resources.


ABP Food Group was the first company in Europe to achieve the multisite European Water Stewardship (EWS) Standard

The implementation of the European Water Stewardship Multisite standard across the ABP Ireland sites has embedded best practice, skills and capabilities. It also helps ABP to deliver continuous improvement in our water management across the group. This project not only improves company performance and competitiveness but also helps us achieve our corporate sustainability targets.

ABP Food Group