ISSUE #60 – Veolia group is the global leader in optimised resource management. With over 174 000 employees worldwide, the group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them. In 2015, the Veolia group supplied 100 million people with drinking water and 63 million people with wastewater service, produced 63 million megawatt hours of energy, and converted 42.9 million metric tonnes of waste into new materials and energy.
INCREASING DEMAND FOR WATER
Water is a valuable commodity used by billions of people every day and its usage has intensifi ed over the years. This has increased water demand, resulting in added pressure on the world’s water supply systems. With a growing global population and escalating consumption from businesses, the competition for water resources is straining the environment, leading to an increase in water stress regions. This can result in several concerns including a negative impact on ecosystems, an overdraft on groundwater that can affect the environment, and disruptions to business activities across sectors. Already today, 700 million people in 43 countries are living in water-scarce regions and it is expected that 1.8 billion people will be living in regions with absolute water scarcity by 2025.
Manufacturers have to be more mindful and responsible of their water footprint
The use of water is essential to businesses and individuals worldwide. However, the combined threat of water scarcity and growing water demand has imposed an urgent need on global businesses to implement better water management techniques. It is imperative that water should be viewed as a critical resource. As large consumers of water resources, manufacturers have to be more mindful and responsible of their water footprint by practicing sustainable water management.
Governments and authorities can also help to reform water governance by implementing tighter water management protocols, and by making water related information and statistics easily accessible to businesses. Through these initiatives, manufacturers will then be empowered to better manage their water consumption.
In anticipation of a future where water becomes a protected resource, manufacturers across industries are already actively devising various strategies to reduce their water consumption.
Companies in the cosmetics and personal care industry are influencing consumers to increase water conservation efforts by formulating water-saving products, such as dry shampoos and non-rinse body washes that require little to no extra water to use. In addition, F&B manufacturers are reusing treated wastewater for non-potable purposes, the Oil & Gas industry is recycling produced water, pulp and paper businesses are engaging in white water and condensate recycling, and the metal recovery industry is recycling its rinse water for rinsing baths.
LEADING THE WAY
Companies that implement water sustainability campaigns to ensure continued water supply have definitely undergone a paradigm shift, as they understand how a water-related disruption can hamper their business activities. In choosing to actively manage their water footprint now, global industry leaders are one step closer to achieving sustainable growth. Although the public at large is aware of water shortages in different parts of the world, few realise the severity of the resulting consequences until it is too late.
Water-saving campaigns driven by world governments and authorities are critical to promote water scarcity awareness and water-saving initiatives at the individual level. However, the potential for water savings are significantly greater in the industrial setting, where water usage is much more extensive including freshwater use.
But as it becomes increasingly stretched, better water management is needed to support the long-term viability of businesses, and to ensure that water remains accessible to all.
By Frédéric Théry, Chief Executive Officer, Veolia Water Technologies, Asia Pacific
Photo: Monitoring water quality in the semiconductor industry in Singapore
Article published in the FOCUS Magazine “Green Power” – Issue #2 2016