2016 Sustainability Report

2016 Sustainability Report

Sustainability Approach

Stakeholder Engagement

The following table identifies many of our key stakeholder groups and summarizes how we engage each of them:


Primary Engagement

and end users

  • White papers, case studies, voice-of-customer interviews, customer satisfaction surveys, webinars, Impeller customer magazine, news releases


  • Consistent supply of news about Xylem’s performance across multiple dimensions, feedback channels on company intranet called Currents, Connect, Perform, Grow manager-employee appraisals, Ethics hotline and Code of Conduct (available in 26 languages), Xylem Employee Ombudsperson program, and employee training and development


  • Annual report, quarterly earnings reports and webcast conference calls, news releases, and proactive shareholder outreach program on performance, plans, corporate governance and sustainability; company filings with the U.S. SEC; in September 2015, we also held an Investor Day


  • Xylem Supplier Ombudsperson program, Supplier Code of Conduct (available in 18 languages) and Supplier Day events


  • Local operations outreach, Xylem Watermark field assessments and sponsorship of local community initiatives

Certification and
Regulatory agencies

  • ISO- and OHSAS-certification audit and permit applications


  • Memberships and partnerships with the UN Global Compact, Stockholm International Water Institute, Ceres, U.S. Water Alliance, Value of Water Coalition, U.S. Water Partnership, Business Roundtable, Bipartisan Policy Center, Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association, Smart Water Networks Forum
  • Xylem Watermark partners: EarthEcho International, Mercy Corps, China Women’s Development Corporation, Planet Water Foundation, Water for People and Fundación Avina

Xylem’s tagline is an inclusive invitation: Let’s Solve Water. Addressing the many water challenges our planet faces is a huge and vital undertaking that calls for collaboration and teamwork. We utilize a variety of resources and tactics to create two-way communication channels with our many stakeholders.

At Xylem, we identify a key stakeholder group as one that is critical to our business and strategy and a core partner in our growth and sustainability efforts. We work to engage our key stakeholder groups regularly, as well as considering broader society by including stakeholders such as certification and regulatory agencies, sustainability and financial rating agencies, and associations and non-governmental organizations. We reach out to and engage our stakeholders in many ways, with a focus on our key stakeholders.

For Xylem employees who work around the globe, we regularly distribute communications and conduct town halls and webcasts on our business strategy and results, as well as many different issues and topics of interest. These are translated into multiple languages to help foster a “one company” culture.

For customers and end users, we publish news about our products and services through a variety of media channels, original research, white papers and case studies, and a customer-focused digital magazine Impeller. We also conduct voice-of-customer interviews and customer satisfaction surveys to learn more about their needs and their perceptions of our company and our products. In 2016, we rolled out the Net Promoter Score (NPS) tool as an additional means of measuring customer satisfaction.

We also collaborate with other business and industry leaders through a variety of forums. Xylem is a member of several water- and sustainability-related organizations, and we participate in and sponsor leading water-industry events.

2016 Stakeholder Activities
Throughout 2016, we engaged in a variety of forums, conferences, programs and projects with our stakeholders to advance our shared mission of water sustainability. Here is a sampling of engagement activities in 2016.

Xylem Surveys Californians for Their Take on Recycled Water

Publishing original research is another way we contribute to advancing the dialogue around sustainable water practices. For example, as Californians entered a fifth year of severe drought, Xylem wanted to better understand Californians’ perceptions about recycled water and their understanding of the technology used to produce it. So the company commissioned an independent private poll, and the results were eye-opening. Of the 3,000 California residents surveyed, 76 percent believe recycled water should be used as a long-term solution, regardless of whether or not the water shortage continues. And 87 percent of respondents support using recycled water as an additional local water supply. Purified wastewater could provide enough potable water to supply all municipal needs for more than 8 million people, or roughly one-fifth of California’s projected population in 2020, according to a report by the WateReuse Association. California has the opportunity to champion a flexible policy framework to enable and advance the adoption of water reuse. And these survey results suggest that residents are ready to support this sustainable approach to water management.

For more on this, hear from Joseph Vesey, Xylem Senior Vice President and
Chief Marketing Officer

Along with other national leaders in the water sector, Xylem co-convened the “Disruptive Resilience: Chief Technology Officers Map America’s 2030 Water Future” conference. This gathering facilitated a discussion of how to best leverage breakthrough technologies to transform how the nation’s water resources are managed in order to create a secure water future for the next century.

Charters, Principles, Initiatives, and Associations
Xylem voluntarily subscribes to or endorses the following economic, environmental and social charters, principles or initiatives:

  • UN Global Compact
  • American Business Act
    on Climate Pledge
  • CDP (formerly Carbon
    Disclosure Project)

Xylem holds positions in, participates with or provides funding beyond routine membership dues to the following industry associations and advocacy organizations:

  • Water Industry
  • Hydraulic Institute
  • Europump
  • International Water
  • Stockholm
    International Water
  • Water Environment
  • MAPI Sustainability
    Council and
    Environment, Safety
    & Health Council
  • National Association
    for Environmental
  • Value of Water
  • Bipartisan Policy
    Center Executive
    Council on
  • U.S. Water Alliance
  • U.S. Water Partnership
  • Water Advocacy
    and NGOs
  • Ceres
  • U.S. Chamber
    of Commerce
    Citizenship Center
  • Mercy Corps
  • Water For People
  • Planet Water
  • Fundación Avina
  • China Women’s
  • EarthEcho
  • Social/Governance/Ethics
  • Society of Corporate
    Compliance and
  • Ethics Resource
    Center Ethisphere
  • Corporate Executive
  • MAPI Ethics &
    Compliance Council
  • National Association
    of Corporate
  • Society of Corporate
    Secretaries &
    Governance Professionals
  • Research and Academic
  • Singapore Public
    Utilities Board
  • IVL Swedish
    Research Institute
  • Masdar Institute of
    Science and Technology
  • Massachusetts
    Institute of
  • Stanford

Xylem President and CEO Patrick Decker participated in the opening session at the Water Leaders Summit, the pillar event at Singapore International Water Week 2016. At the event, government officials, world organizations and industry leaders convened with the common goal of addressing global water challenges through policymaking and thought leadership. The session, “Beyond Business-as-Usual: Enhancing Collaboration for Resilient and Sustainable Urban Water Management,” explored how business and industry leaders can work together more effectively and overcome water challenges faced by cities worldwide.

Xylem was invited to participate in the White House Water Summit, which focused on the role of breakthrough, creative solutions to current water challenges, as well as the innovative strategies that will catalyze change in how we use, conserve, protect and think about water in the future.

Albert Cho, Xylem’s Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, spoke on a panel at the 2016 American Water Summit. Cho, along with other business and water leaders, discussed the future of the digital utility. Collaborating with other industry leaders at forums like the American Water Summit helps us ensure that the water sector can maximize the benefits of the digital future.

At the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Brisbane, Australia, Xylem explored the importance of understanding lifecycle costs when evaluating water infrastructure investments.

Xylem was selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Smart Cities Infrastructure Business Development Mission to India. Representatives from Xylem and 18 other companies participated in this Smart Cities Infrastructure Business Development Mission, which included visits to New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Vizag to explore opportunities for introducing or expanding the use of sustainable products and services in India.

Xylem co-sponsored the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Arsenic Sensor Challenge, which is seeking to identify new or improved sensors, devices or test kits to measure arsenic in water in natural and engineered systems.

For the 20th consecutive year, Xylem served as the Founding Sponsor of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize international competition.

Xylem was featured in the Business Roundtable 2016 Sustainability Report as one of 150 companies committed to addressing environmental and energy challenges while driving increased economic growth and job creation.

Greg Mimms, Xylem Vice President of EHS&S, was selected to participate in expert reviews for GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety reporting standards.