Preserving a precious resource by reducing our water use

Although the majority of our manufacturing processes do not consume significant amounts of water, ABB is nonetheless committed to reducing our impact on local water resources.

To this end we already employ the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Global Water Tool to map our water use against renewable water resources in the countries and watersheds in which we operate.

We have also developed our own in-house water tool for mapping and analyzing water flows at our manufacturing facilities in water-scarce and extremely water-scarce watersheds. Facilities have used this tool to review water flows, analyze water-related threats to their operations, and develop water action plans to minimize risks and leverage opportunities.

ABB’s Sustainability Objectives 2014 – 2020 commit us to reduce absolute water use by 25 percent by 2020 at facilities in water-stressed, water-scarce and extremely water-scarce watersheds, compared to a baseline of 2013. The initial focus is on 30 selected facilities.

Looking at ABB’s global operations, nearly half of our water withdrawals are used for cooling processes, about a third used for domestic purposes, such as sanitation, cooking or garden maintenance, and the remainder for manufacturing processes.

Many sites use closed-loop processes and undertake other projects to recycle or reuse water, saving significant volumes of this resource. Without such measures, ABB's water withdrawals would be more than 50 percent higher. 

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