We’re as passionate about the quality of our water as we are about saving the planet from single-use plastics. It’s why our quality assurance and regulatory team is so focused on using water suppliers that meet our safety, quality, and sustainability
requirements. If you’re a Mananalu drinker, we know you care about this too, so allow us to explain more about all things water.
As you may remember from an earlier blog post, Mananalu currently offers purified water (although we’ve got a few exciting announcements up our sleeve—stay tuned!). Purified water takes great water and makes it even better. Depending on the location, purified water may originate from groundwater or municipal sources, and then undergoes an intensive purification process. This involves reverse osmosis, super-fine filtration, and UV light treatment, among other things. After the purification, a proprietary blend of minerals (magnesium, calcium, potassium) is added back into the water to ensure the same great taste, regardless of the source.
Our Supplier Network
Our purified water currently comes from three suppliers located in California and Nebraska, with additional suppliers coming on board from North Carolina and Montana in the next two months. All of our current and future suppliers are also co-packers, meaning that they are both providing the water to us and putting it into the bottles.
We use a robust set of criteria for vetting our suppliers, including the requirement that they possess a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification. As the name implies, GFSI is a program ensuring the highest level of global safety and quality for food and beverages, and is the gold standard used by major retailers like Amazon, Meijer, and Whole Foods.
In addition to a GFSI certification, it is important to Mananalu that our suppliers uphold the same values we do, and are taking steps to support their employees, their communities, and the environment. (These just happen to be the three pillars of a certified B Corp, a designation that Mananalu is in the process of pursuing as a company.) We issue a detailed supplier survey that asks questions related to these pillars, and the answers are factored into our final selection process. After we’ve ensured that our suppliers adhere to all of our requirements, we then do our own due diligence through on-site walk-throughs to understand the process, perform qualifying test runs, and ensure everything complies with our strict quality assurance standards.
Of course, it is also critically important that our partners are able to successfully pack the water into our 16-ounce alumitek bottles. Because this packaging is not the industry standard—hence our global single-use plastic problem!—not all co-packers are able to accommodate this…but we’re working to get them there. If we want to change the way people drink bottled water, then we need to help lead the industry.
Our Commitment to Supplier Sustainability
Unsurprisingly, the final key consideration in identifying our suppliers is related to sustainability, which is core to everything we do.
As we mentioned, we issue a survey to all suppliers that zeros in on their sustainability initiatives, with specific questions looking at energy and water usage, waste monitoring, and goals for reduction. This allows us to identify those who are the most closely aligned with our environmental priorities. We’ve also taken it upon ourselves to educate our supplier network on our aluminum alternative to the plastic water bottle, in an effort to challenge industry norms. We’re starting to see some progress here, as more and more suppliers are making the investment in machinery that moves them away from plastic and into aluminum packaging.
Because all of our water is currently shipped, sourcing and packaging it in close proximity to our customers allows us to minimize our overall carbon footprint—which we offset completely through carbon credits (read more about that here). It’s for this reason that we have multiple suppliers in California.
Having a robust supplier network in California allows us to ship the product to them with the smallest carbon impact possible. That said, we are very aware of the water issues the state of California currently faces, and make every effort to remain compliant with all regulations related to bottled water production within the state. We are also monitoring the situation on an ongoing basis to ensure that Mananalu continues to offer the most sustainable drinking water option possible.
It’s for this reason, as well, that we’re constantly looking for sustainable suppliers to join our network and help us bring innovative new water offerings to our product line. But, as we said earlier, you’ll have to sit tight for an update on that last point! In the meantime, enjoy your purified aluminum-canned water that is made possible by our network of nationwide suppliers, who—like us—are committed to taking a stand against single-use plastics.