Managing water consumption is a top priority for Xylem. In 2017, we signed the CEO Water Mandate. This UN Global Compact initiative mobilizes business leaders on water, sanitation and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Endorsers of the CEO Water Mandate commit to continuous progress against six core elements of water stewardship and, by doing so, better understand and manage their own risks. In addition to our large-scale manufacturing processes, rather routine tasks that occur at hundreds of locations around the world also require the use of water. These activities include the use of water tanks to test products after repair and at high-pressure washing stations where we clean products coming back from customer sites. The scale and variety of these activities means that the solutions for reducing our usage are not one-size-fits-all. For example, at some facilities we have begun to collect rainwater for use in test tanks and use recycled water for landscaping and sanitation.
We have a number of tools at our disposal to help us limit our water consumption:
- The Eco Project Deck is now being used at all of our facilities to identify areas for improvement.
- The Global Water Tool, developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, is used to determine which Xylem sites are located in water-stressed or water-scarce areas; this tool is being used at manufacturing sites, sales and service facilities and large office-only facilities.
- Tools to help decrease water use across our supply chain, including a water footprint calculation tool and a pilot sustainability audit program for suppliers in water-stressed basins.
Capital investments also can make a difference in water conservation techniques. At our Montecchio Maggiore site in Italy, for example, we closed the water loop for process and condition cooling through a new chiller instead of using groundwater. The new chiller helped achieve a reduction in water consumption of 50 percent.