Water conservation is a key priority at Abbott – to save costs and resources, and to ensure clean, fresh water for the future.
Some of Abbott’s manufacturing plants are located in areas where water resources are constrained. Even where water is plentiful, we have a responsibility to use resources wisely. At our plant in Cootehill, Ireland, for example, by conserving water and evaporating the milk we use, we return five liters of water for every four we take in – and it’s actually cleaner than before.
REDUCING OUR WATER FOOTPRINT
To us, environmental stewardship and operating efficiency go hand in hand. At Abbott’s site in Sligo, Ireland, we’re managing water use in a sustainable way through initiatives such as rainwater harvesting. At our plant in Singapore – a water-stressed area – we implement employee suggestions for conservation. Workers in the plant kitchen, for example, noticed that recirculation pumps ran constantly, even when the water was not in use. Today the pumps run only when needed. This change, and many others like it, helped the Singapore plant reduce water use by 28.8 percent, normalized by sales, from 2010 to 2013.
Abbott’s conservation efforts extend across the globe. Using the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Aqueduct water model, our major manufacturing plants are assessing their local water needs and developing water management plans. At our plant in Rio de Janeiro, for example, we recycle wastewater for use in the HVAC cooling tower, fire water tanks and gardening – reducing water use by about 9,000 cubic meters per year and lowering the amount of treated wastewater released into a nearby river by 23 percent.
EDUCATING COMMUNITIES ON WATER CONSERVATION
Along with reducing our own water footprint, we are committed to helping the communities where we work and live with water management. In Arizona and in Brazil, Abbott and the Abbott Fund partner with Project WET, a leader in worldwide water education, to teach children about water conservation and the importance of clean water.