Operations

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In order to serve our customers and provide a sustainable future, we must first strengthen our own resiliency. 2020 was a year like no other for Xylem and all companies around the world, where the importance of a strong foundation combined with the ability to be agile and responsive to changing customer needs, proved critical.

Xylem’s 2025 Sustainability Goals for Operations and Safety

  • 100 percent Renewable Energy at major facilities*
  • 100 percent Process Water recycling at major facilities*
  • Achieve zero waste to landfill from processes at major facilities*
  • Reduce injury frequency rate** to an incident rate of 0.5 or below
  • Develop 1.5°C science based targets for GHG reduction (Scope 1, 2, 3)

We are in the early stages of planning and investing in our facilities to further reduce overall energy and water consumption in order to reach our goals. We are making significant progress, from identifying our highest-emitting activities to engaging employees across our company to adopt a more energy-efficient mindset. We increased our percentage of recycled and reused water from 11.7 in 2019 to 16.4 in 2020.

In addition to responsible water use practices in our facilities, our commitment to watershed stewardship is reflected in our operations in water-stressed areas. Some of our facilities treat non-potable water without the use of chemicals to independently verified drinking water standards and continuous remote monitoring of the water quality allows us to adjust treatment as necessary. For example, our facility in Chihuahua, Mexico, located in a high-risk water-stressed region, uses Xylem products to enhance the quality of reused water in a pump washing water recirculation loop. In 2020, it was estimated that 98,000 gallons were reused on such processes.  

In 2020, 80 percent of Xylem sites worldwide achieved zero injuries and/or illnesses. This is an achievement we are proud of as it is a clear marker of successful collaboration with team members to reduce risk and promote a positive safety culture. By tracking leading safety indicators, we hold sites accountable in order to continue to help drive down incident frequency.

Learn more about our progress in our 2020 Sustainability report 

MImms-065.jpgSustainability is not just something Xylem considers when designing products, we also strive to ensure that our offices and manufacturing facilities are run as efficiently as possible, including reducing our water usage and increasing our use of renewable energy sources. In 2019, solar panels were installed on the roof of our facility in Dubai, which provides energy to both the factory and our offices. In Texarkana, the process to clean parts was improved which resulted in saving more than three million gallons of water per year. “We are always looking at ways to continuously improve our processes to reduce our impact on the world around us.  Here’s a look at how we’re advancing sustainability across our global ‘footprint.’ ”
– Gregory Mimms, CSP, Vice President, Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability

Shenyang Plant Will Achieve Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Electricity In 2021

Nicknamed China’s “green factory" in 2019, the Shenyang plant has taken a monumental step toward improved sustainability by harnessing wind energy to reduce its GHG emissions. This will allow Shenyang to reduce its emissions by 2116 tons of GHG (CO2e). To achieve Xylem’s 2025 goals while also working closely with local authorities and regional partners, the majority of electricity consumption at the plant in 2021 will originate from clean and renewable sources.

Strong winds in the north of China make wind power a reliable and sustainable option in the area. At the same time, due to the short hours of daylight and cold weather, solar power is not as well suited to local conditions. 

Facility in Water-Stressed Chihuahua, Mexico, Implements Responsible Water Use Practices

Some of our facilities treat non-potable water without the use of chemicals to independently verify drinking water standards through continuous remote monitoring, allowing us to adjust treatment as necessary. For example, our facility in Chihuahua, Mexico, is located in a region of high-risk to water-stresses. This facility uses Xylem products to enhance the quality of reused water in a pump washing water recirculation loop. In 2020, it was estimated that 98,000 gallons were reused on such processes.

This same site in Mexico, Chihuahua, in 2020 installed 113 LED lamps in other areas (RULE & FX), with an estimated yearly reduction of close to 121,000 kWh and 60 tons CO2e.

Zero process waste to landfill in Germany, China, and India

To minimize the amount of waste being sent to landfills and incinerators, we work with our waste contractors to direct materials to be recycled and reused to the extent feasible. We also implement internal activities such as Point Kaizens and other continuous improvement initiatives to eliminate or reduce waste from our operations. Since 2014, we have improved waste reduction reporting by our facilities, internal waste reduction efforts and cooperation with our outside partners. As a result of this diligence and our commitment to responsibly managing waste, no significant spills were reported at any of our facilities in 2020.

Three of our sites — Herford, Germany; Nanjing, China; and Vadodara, India — have already achieved our 2025 Goal of zero process waste to landfill, mainly due to a large scale recycle/reuse program implemented on site supported by the locally available infrastructure. In 2021, we will take a number of activities planned to increase, simplify, and facilitate the handling of process waste.

Sustainable packaging in USA, Mexico, Sweden, and Italy

We estimate that more than 75 percent of the packaging material used at Xylem is recyclable, reusable or compostable. Five major facilities (Auburn, New York, USA; Chihuahua, Mexico; Emmaboda, Sweden; Montecchio, Italy; and Morton Grove, Illinois, USA) accounting for approximately 50 percent of the total packaging material cost, were selected to pilot a robust sustainable packaging plan to be replicated across the organization. To promote sustainability in our product packaging, we also launched an enterprise-wide Sustainability Packaging Task Force to guide our global strategy. 

Key components of the strategy include:

  • Packaging material content. Utilizing certified renewable content (chain of custody certification) for our product packaging. This provides confirmation that Xylem’s packaging materials come from environmentally and socially responsible sources.
  • Packaging filler. Using recyclable material for packaging filler, eliminating the use of foam and reducing the use of plastics.
  • Digitalize product instruction manuals. Delivering available technical information to our customers through a QR code, reducing waste and applying available technology to access to that information.
  • Sustainable ink. Using inks free of substances of high concern, heavy metals or other undesirable components is a visible way to demonstrate our commitment to sustainable packaging for our customers.