Today, on World Water Day, Ecolab, the global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services, launched an enhanced version of its Smart Water Navigator. The free online tool helps businesses understand the value of water in their operations and take action to achieve corporate water goals.
This enhanced tool comes at a time when rising industrial water use continues to contribute to the world’s growing water stress and scarcity challenges. According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), the world will experience a 56% freshwater shortfall by 2030 if nothing changes, an increase from the 40% shortfall projected by the U.N. in 2015.
“This is an important time for industry to start closing the widening gap between freshwater supply and demand through smart water management,” said Ecolab President and CEO Christophe Beck. “We developed the Ecolab Smart Water Navigator to help businesses develop comprehensive, context-based plans and to better engage and support the teams responsible for driving smart water management.”
A need for increased urgency around corporate water action
To better understand the state of corporate water management and how companies can more effectively advance their water management goals, in February 2021 Ecolab and sustainability news research organization GreenBiz surveyed 93 companies with revenues of at least $1 billion.
The survey underscored the need for increased urgency around water action within organizations, with only 38% of respondents stating that water is a strategic corporate initiative that is proactively managed across their operations. At the same time, S&P Global reports that corporate water use progress is currently insufficient to prevent the projected freshwater gap.
Identifying opportunities to advance corporate water goals
While water targets and goals are typically set by sustainability and corporate responsibility teams, 95% of respondents in the Ecolab-GreenBiz survey said that facility-level teams are responsible for achieving these targets, which may contribute to the disconnect between water intention and action.
- Only 54% of survey respondents currently utilized advanced measurement tools to track progress.
- And 45% said they felt their organization’s water would be better managed and targets would be more easily achieved if they utilized such tools.
“Despite a growing understanding of our world’s worsening water crisis, companies are not making water management a priority,” said Ecolab Senior Vice President of Corporate Sustainability Emilio Tenuta. “Tools that help enable facilities to better measure water use are key to driving action, which is why we enhanced the Ecolab Smart Water Navigator.”
Helping enable local water action
The enhanced Ecolab Smart Water Navigator supports users who are just beginning to identify baseline water use as well as those who are ready to track year-over-year performance. The tool delivers an automated analysis of water use that allows users to set informed, context-based goals that consider the water basin health in surrounding communities and environments. New features include benchmarking across a portfolio of facilities and the ability to identify water withdrawal targets and risks and evaluate performance over time.
The Ecolab Smart Water Navigator, first introduced in 2019, supports Ecolab’s broader mission to help industry reuse, recycle and reduce water, supporting resilient operations and healthy communities. Ecolab’s water stewardship efforts focus on identifying and supporting equitable and sustainable water use, and partnerships, like its founding membership in the Water Resilience Coalition, an industry-driven initiative, of the United Nations Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate.