Water is an essential part of the manufacturing process for many of our products. Over the past two decades, our R&D, engineering, and manufacturing teams have partnered to developed innovative ways to reduce and recycle water in our plants. Currently, we have reduced our fresh water usage by more than 27% per unit of production vs. our 2010 baseline, exceeding our 2020 goal of 20% several years ahead of schedule.

P&G celebrates its 5th anniversary partnering with the World Resource Institute (WRI) on water. We first engaged WRI’s water team after being introduced to their Water Risk Atlas, a tool that could help us better screen our sites. Fast forward five years, and we have expanded that partnership around water risk assessment to include the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and others as we collectively work to develop a best in class, three tired risk assessment process. Since water is often a local issue, this risk assessment allows P&G to focus our resources where they can have the largest impact.

Tier 1 of our water risk assessment process included a review of all sites globally using the WRI Aquaduct tool along with other risk criteria and key metrics. From this process, we found that less than 30% of our sites (40 sites) are located in water stress areas. All 40 sites were then asked to complete the second (Tier 2) part of our assessment process.

Tier 2 of our water risk assessment process includes having each site complete a detailed questionnaire that builds off the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Water Risk Filter Tool.
This questionnaire provided a strong basis for developing a rigorous scoring system that would address the unique features of our manufacturing processes. WWF and WRI were invaluable partners in its creation, and consultants at Environmental Resources Management (ERM) made our vision come to life. This included looking at water usage within our sites and also outside our four walls to better understand the impacts within the overall water basin.

A great example of how this is coming to life is on our efforts in Taicang, China where we produce Head and Shoulders, Pantene, Rejoice and Vidal Sassoon. Designing in sustainability from day one, Taicang was built around the concept of a Chinese water garden and is one of our most sustainable sites globally. They have achieved LEED silver certification, utilize 100% renewable electricity from wind, are qualified as zero manufacturing waste to landfill, and have demonstrated breakthrough water/wastewater recycling. Their recycling efforts were recently recognized as a case study by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) within their Circular Water Management Spotlight website.

Being Good Stewards

Our Water Risk Assessment process and external partnerships have been a catalyst for action within our business units, and we have seen a heightened commitment to being good water stewards. The identification of sites in water-stressed areas has empowered our manufacturing plants to support each other in making a real difference at the site level leading to:

  • Internal water workshops to share best practices
  • Scorecards to inspire action on a business unit level
  • Renewed business continuity plans that put additional focus on water stress
  • Investments to understand and implement new water reuse technologies