As a signatory to the United Nations (UN) CEO Water Mandate, a UN Global Compact initiative that mobilizes business leaders on water, sanitation and the Sustainable Development Goals, we are committed to continuous progress against six core elements of water stewardship: direct operations, supply chain and watershed management, collective action, public policy, community engagement, and transparency. This mandate makes responsible water consumption within our operations a major focus at Xylem and helps us to better understand and manage our own water use risks.
Part of our effort to build a sustainable company includes transitioning our business away from fossil fuels and water waste. To that end, two of our 2025 signature goals are to use 100 percent renewable energy and 100 percent process water recycling at our major facilities. 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 new target. 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 achieved a 28.3% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions intensity between 2014 and 2019, exceeding our goal of a 20% reduction.
Sustainability 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
The solar panels installed on the roof of Xylem’s Dubai facility deliver enough energy for our 3,000 m2 office, as well as the 10,000 m2 factory. This clean, renewable energy reduced Xylem’s CO2 emissions at the facility by 426 megatons in 2019.
Also in 2019, our team in Dubai focused on reducing water consumption in their operations. This involved raising employee awareness, installing water flow meters on all pumps and performing frequent leak checks. Waterless urinals were also installed, and the toilet tanks adjusted to reduce the amount of water used. By taking these actions and many more the facility reduced water use by 17 percent in 2019.
Early in 2019, Xylem’s Texarkana operations in Arkansas, U.S., came up with a continuous improvement approach to reduce the amount of water used when cleaning and coating parts. The team first measured the water flow, then turned down the water input and increased the pressure of the spray nozzles inside the washer. The process was monitored to ensure the parts were still properly cleaned and rinsed.
By the end of 2019, the facility had saved over 3.1 million gallons of water, which also resulted in a cost savings from the water and wastewater reductions. The successful project incurred zero direct costs, and the team will continue to search for additional water reduction projects.
In Morton Grove, Illinois, the site modified their heavy duty pump packaging from a polyurethane product to using recycled paper packaging The process now involves utilizing a converter that transforms rolls of sustainably-sourced paper into cushioning packaging material. The switch not only eliminated a chemical process from the operations, reducing risk to employees, but is providing a savings of over $90,000 USD per year in materials.
To reduce waste to landfill, our Emmaboda, Sweden, site works with the local landfill to repurpose foundry sand by having it serve as a stabilizer for landfill. The sand is used to build ramparts around the landfill and to cover the landfill to stabilize the area and secure the waste from moving in the future, reducing odors, keeping litter from scattering, and helping deter scavengers such as rodents and birds. In 2019, 8,814 tons of foundry sand was repurposed and used at the landfill, leading to over $1.4 million in savings in 2019.