Clean Water and Sanitation
Supplying humans with clean water for drinking and personal hygiene and for use in farming and industry is one of the greatest challenges of our time. According to a publication from the United Nations (The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015), about 1.8 billion people have no access to good-quality drinking water. Water shortages affect more than 40 percent of the world's population and this is likely to increase in the future. 2.4 billion people have no access to basic hygiene facilities. More than 80 percent of the world’s wastewater runs into rivers or seas without being treated.
Consequently, companies have a high degree of responsibility as regards their handling of the natural resource water. Companies must keep their water consumption as low as possible, recycle and reuse industrial water, and reduce emissions to waters. Especially in regions with water shortages, it should also be ensured that water consumption does not disadvantage the neighboring population. This includes an evaluation of water intake, a comprehensive analysis of the wastewater, and transparent reporting in this regard. Companies should also offer solutions to their customers to reduce the water consumption and emissions to waters.
Evonik continuously strives to reduce its water consumption and emissions to waters. Therefore, we have set ourselves the target of reducing specific water intake by 10 percent by 2020 (reference year: 2012). We are focusing on surface, ground, and drinking water.
Water is used mainly for cooling, as process water in production, and to generate steam in the power stations. To save freshwater, we have established integrated water systems with various levels of water quality. The evaporation volume in the cooling systems will also be balanced out in many cases with condensate or used drinking water.
Wastewater from our sites is carefully controlled, for example, with regular sampling and continuously operating measuring devices. To ensure water availability at our sites, we have regular meetings with the responsible authorities and other water consumers.
We also provide information about our sustainable water management system within the scope of our participation in the CDP Water.
Our innovative products and solutions also help support SDG 6. These include amino acids for animal nutrition, which reduce land and water usage, and environmentally friendly laundry, cleaning, and disinfection products. One example of this is the biosurfactant REWOFERM® SL 446, which, as well as displaying good cleaning properties, has an outstanding toxicologi-cal and ecological profile and is completely biodegradable. Evonik also offers solutions for treating municipal and industrial wastewater.