Introducing Xylem’s 2021 Sustainability Report

Introducing Xylem’s 2021 Sustainability Report

"We have a responsibility to make a difference, working alongside our customers and partners, and the communities we all serve. That’s why our sustainability report is more than a set of numbers. It’s a report card on the impact we’re making, together, and a dashboard of progress in our mission to solve water." - Patrick Decker, President & CEO of Xylem.
Xylem’s newly released 2021 Sustainability Report highlights our work with our customers and other partners to solve the world’s greatest water challenges. Through our advanced solutions and services, Xylem enables utilities, industrial companies and other water consumers to optimize their networks while achieving their own sustainability goals.
In 2021, we intensified our efforts around three critical areas: Supporting and progressing water stewardship, fostering climate change mitigation through decarbonization, and advancing equity by championing diversity, equity and inclusion within our company, across the water sector and beyond.

Key 2021 sustainability milestones

  • In 2021, Xylem technology helped our customers prevent 500 billion gallons (1.9 billion cubic meters) of polluted water from flooding communities, and helped our customers reuse more than 285 billion gallons (1 billion cubic meters) of water in 2021.
  • Our company is on pace to achieve net zero carbon emissions, with net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emission intensity reduced by 12%.
  • More than half of Xylem’s 22 major facilities are now operating on 100% renewable energy.

Xylem President & CEO Patrick Decker on why sustainability is core to our business:

A snapshot of our commitment to sustainability in action:

Water stewardship

We’re helping our customers and the communities they serve become more effective stewards of their water resources. We do this by providing world-leading solutions, technologies and services. For example, our innovative digital offerings are transforming water management for utilities — enabling breakthroughs in affordability and efficiency, paired with reduced operational cost and complexity.

  • In Washington State, one city reduced non-revenue water by 50%, saving more than 650 million gallons (2.4 million cubic meters) of water, by leveraging Xylem’s digital portfolio. Read more about their progress here.

  • Xylem’s digital technologies also helped a utility in Buffalo reduce sewer overflow volumes by 450 million gallons (1.7 million cubic meters). Using Xylem’s Wastewater Network Optimization system, the utility was able to optimize existing infrastructure and dramatically reduce the discharge of combined sewage into the city’s receiving waterways. Read how intelligent urban watershed technology helped the city become more sustainable here.

  • Partnership is core to how Xylem operates. Our partnerships with customers have seen the prevention of over 500 billion gallons (1.9 billion cubic meters) of polluted water from entering our waterways. Read more about how our strategic partnerships with both India and the city of South Bend, Indiana, are positively impacting communities.

Net-zero commitments

Another major area of focus is addressing climate mitigation through the decarbonization of our sector – supporting our customers on their journey in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and setting their own net-zero commitments.

  • We continue to develop and provide leading-edge products and solutions that help to make water production more energy efficient. For example, read how a wastewater treatment plant in Germany used AI to reduce aeration energy use by 30% here or how a plant in Italy cut energy use by 20% with Xylem’s innovative new biological treatment system here.

  • We’ve recently set our own net-zero commitments – announcing our goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across our value chain before 2050, as part of our broader sustainability targets. Because we need collective effort to drive positive change, we called on other industry leaders to work together to accelerate the water sector’s “Race to Zero.”

  • Our recent paper outlines some of the ways utilities can get started on their race to zero and the high-efficiency technologies that can accelerate their path to a zero-carbon future. Read more about how these solutions are helping water operators around the world move the needle towards net zero here.

Water equity

We continue to advance water equity – by providing solutions, expertise, education and support to ensure equitable access to clean water and sanitation around the globe.

  • We recently engaged over 700 students from 47 different countries in our first annual Xylem Ignite Innovation Challenge in 2021, as part of our global youth initiative dedicated to mobilizing the next generation of water innovators. Challenges included reducing the water footprint of everyday products, gamifying water quality education, urban flood prediction, and water for life on Mars. You can read more about Xylem Ignite here and about how Xylem is tapping into the passion and creativity of our youth to solve water challenges and advance sustainability through the power of sport and through our sponsorship of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize.

  • We have developed a spatial-analytical tool – the Water Equity Lens – to help communities assess their water equity performance. 

  • We remain committed to building a culture that promotes fairness and inclusion and empowers colleagues to perform at their very best. Last year, we reached almost 80% of employee participation in Xylem Watermark, our corporate citizenship program – a company record!

In a period of global conflict, climate change, ongoing impacts from the pandemic, and vast inequity, the role of water in community prosperity and human health is more apparent than ever.

At Xylem, we recognize we have the “Opportunity of a Lifetime” to create a more sustainable world. That’s why we’re taking action, working with our customers and other partners to solve communities’ greatest water and climate challenges together. This is more than an aspiration. It’s our mission and privilege.

Read the full Xylem 2021 Sustainability Report.