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Our Commitment to Water Stewardship on World Water Day and Beyond

Water is essential to all life on Earth, and the need for clean, accessible water is as urgent as ever. By 2030, water demand will exceed supply by 40 percent, according to the World Bank. Conservation alone is unlikely to fill the gap.

Today is World Water Day, and the focus is on accelerating change to address global water and sanitation issues. ACC and its member companies are taking action to help protect water resources in the communities where they operate.

To build an even better future, the chemical industry is committed to enhancing the sustainability of manufacturing, including minimizing negative environmental consequences while conserving energy and natural resources like water, and conserving and protecting water resources near our facilities. 

Taking Action on Water Stewardship

A strategy to address water-related risks and water stewardship is a critical element of a company’s overall sustainability strategy. That’s why ACC has collaborated with The Water Council (TWC), a nonprofit dedicated to addressing critical water challenges and advancing water stewardship, to develop a Water Body Risk Assessment (WBRA) framework that can help our member companies identify and consider potential actions they can take to address and mitigate water-related risks.

Undertaking a WBRA at a facility can be an important element of a company’s enterprise-wide water stewardship program.  While companies may establish an overall vision and goals for water stewardship, water-related risk and mitigation actions are generally specific to a location or region. In addition, water management has traditionally focused primarily on operational efficiency and regulatory compliance but now may also consider regional effects of climate change, along with competing demands due to population growth and increased production. 

TWC is assisting ACC as we work to build a Water Stewardship Program that can help our members take a holistic approach to identifying and mitigating water-related risk to operations inside the fence line and water challenges that affect users across the watershed.  

Conducting a WBRA at their sites can serve as an important element of an enterprise-wide water stewardship program and help ACC members:

  • Assess and prioritize potential water-related risks at its facilities.
  • Identify opportunities to mitigate water-related risks.
  • Engage with external stakeholders proactively in local water stewardship initiatives that address shared challenges and opportunities.
  • Demonstrate actions being taken to be a responsible water steward in their communities.

As a result of conducting a WBRA, some ACC members are reaching out to their public water utilities, relevant NGOs, and other stakeholders to enable clean water and responsible water sourcing into the future. Companies that implement mitigating actions, participate in collaborative water stewardship efforts, set facility-based targets, or make other water commitments resulting from a WBRA have a positive story to tell—whether it’s defining corporate water goals for their organization, working to address regulatory issues, or engaging with community stakeholders to improve water stewardship in the surrounding community.

Learn More

Learn how ACC member companies continue to innovate to help conserve and protect drinking water in their communities:

  • By conserving, recycling and reusing water, Dow reduced its freshwater intake intensity by around 20 percent at locations it identified as water stressed;
  • Nalco, a leading provider of water treatment and process improvements, developed cooling water technologies that help save billions of gallons of water each year—about equal to the yearly drinking water needs of more than 200 million people;
  • A leading chemical manufacturing company, Huntsman, created new, more-efficient dyes that allow textile manufacturers to reduce water consumption by approximately 50 percent, while also cutting energy usage and carbon footprints roughly in half

Read more stories that highlight products and technologies developed by ACC member companies that are helping to reduce water consumption, protect water resources and enhance water quality around the world.

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About the Author

As Vice President of Sustainability and Responsible Care®, Mitch Toomey is responsible for leading the strategic implementation of ACC’s world-class EHS&S performance initiative and executing the industry’s commitment to sustainability – through innovation, collaboration, and technologies that enhance the safety and environmental impacts of ACC member products and operations.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

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