P&G’s New Strategy to Help Address Global Water Crisis
In June 2022, P&G announced a strategy to help build a water positive future that includes restoring water in 18 water-stressed areas around the world for people and nature, responding to water challenges through innovation and partnerships, and reducing water in our operations.
In June 2022, P&G announced a strategy to help build a water positive future that includes restoring water in 18 water-stressed areas around the world for people and nature, responding to water challenges through innovation and partnerships, and reducing water in our operations. This comprehensive effort includes a global portfolio of water restoration projects that will provide a range of solutions to protect ecosystems, replenish groundwater supplies, reduce the amount of water diverted from essential bodies of water, and improve water quality for the community and the wildlife that depends on them.
As part of this strategy, P&G has added two new goals to its comprehensive program:
- Making of our products: Restore more water than is consumed1 at P&G manufacturing sites located in 18 water-stressed areas around the world.
- Use of our products: Restore more water than is consumed2 when using P&G products in the high water-stressed metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and Mexico City – recognized as a first-of-its-kind commitment.
We will achieve these goals through partnerships with organizations and restoration projects that improve, manage, and protect water resources.
Why P&G is taking action
By 2025, the United Nations projects that about two-thirds of people on the planet will live in water-stressed areas. Water is critical for people, essential to support nature, wildlife, and agriculture. It's also important for making all and using most of P&G’s products (e.g., shampoo, laundry detergent, dish soap etc.). That’s why we are building on our water progress with additional goals and partnerships so we can be part of a ripple effect toward a water positive future.
Building A Water Positive Future: The Background on Our Strategy
To P&G, a water positive future is one where water can sustain people and nature, now and for generations to come. We will contribute toward this future by restoring water in water-stressed areas, responding to water challenges through innovation and partnerships, and reducing water in our operations. This is a future that cannot be achieved alone, and partnership is critical to making a positive impact.
Our intent is to restore the volume of water consumed from each of the water-stressed basins back to those respective basins through long-term projects that improve, manage, and protect water resources.
During the manufacturing of our products, water consumed is the amount that evaporates or is included as a product ingredient. For consumers, we define water consumed as coming from common household leaks and evaporation that occurs during the use of our products. In general, this is the portion of water that does not go back to the local basin for further beneficial use (e.g., water that does not return to the local supply through drains, pipes, channels, etc.).
When people use products to wash their hair, shave, do their laundry, etc. some of that water can evaporate or is consumed by common leaks in homes. Our new goals and projects focus on addressing the water that does not go back to local systems from our operations and, for the first time in our industry, from consumer use of products.
How P&G identified and prioritised these water-stressed areas
Recognising that water stress and scarcity are increasing in many regions around the world, we conducted a detailed water risk assessment with expert partners at World Resources Institute (WRI), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and Environmental Resources Management (ERM).
This approach helped us pinpoint 18 water-stressed areas across seven countries, known as water basins. The priority basin names and boundaries come from the World Resources Institute (WRI) Aqueduct 3.0 dataset. Each of these basins meets three criteria, including: underlying chronic water stress; they contain at least one P&G manufacturing facility; and are located within a priority P&G market.
Our 18 water-stressed areas include:
- United States – Lower American, Calleguas, Lower Bear-Malad, Lower Salt
- Mexico – Moctezuma, Laja, Lerma-Salamanca
- Spain – Segura
- Italy – Garigliano
- Turkey – Kocaeli
- India – Sabarmati, Sutlej, Yamuna 1, Jamni, Musi-Aler
- China – Xuanhui He, Hai He Delta, Tuo Jiang
How P&G chose these goals and the methodology behind them
We first determined the amount of water we use when making products and the amount of water people use with our products. We learned much of the water used when making our products returns to the local basin, while the rest evaporates or is used as a product ingredient.
We worked closely with the World Resources Institute (WRI) Water Program to ensure our new water targets align with the best science and emerging target-setting practices. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to develop goals that not only address the water consumed during manufacturing but also address water consumed during the use of our products, as consumer use accounts for the majority of P&G’s overall water footprint.
To directly address the water associated with consumer use of P&G products, we first needed to understand the approximate water volumes that do not go down the drain and back to our priority basins after product use. We worked with the World Resources Institute (WRI) to develop a new approach to estimate the annual water consumed2 when consumers use P&G products in our 18 priority areas. The details of the method used to derive our new goals is planned for publication with WRI in August 2022.
How P&G facilities optimise their water usage and reduce the amount of water needed to manufacture P&G products
We’ve set ambitious targets to make our facilities and manufacturing plants more water efficient:
- Reduce water use at our manufacturing facilities by 35% per unit of production by 2030, compared to a 2010 baseline.
- Recycle five billion liters of water every year by 2030.
We’ve already made significant progress toward our goals – with the help of our 138 facilities in 39 countries around the world, we increased water efficiency by 25% (vs. 2010), and we recycled and reused 3.1 billion liters of water in 2021 alone.
P&G is also a member of the Alliance for Water Stewardship, and we are committed to playing our part in protecting the water resources we share with our neighbors. All P&G sites located in high water-stressed areas are required to understand their local water sheds, create action plans, and address the key challenges impacting our operations and the local communities where we operate.
All of our plants around the world are also developing on-site water efficiency solutions. For example, our Feminine Care plant in Hungary uses innovative water treatment technologies to recycle 90% of its daily water demand, equal to more than 230 million liters of recycled water per year.
Where We Go from Here
While there is no simple solution for the world’s water crisis, we are determined to address shared water challenges within water-stressed areas where we work because we know it is where we can make the biggest difference. Our strategy will continue to evolve alongside our understanding of all the complex issues facing the world’s water resources. We will also continue to support a wide range of partners to amplify impact and accelerate simple solutions to help build a water positive future for all. For more information and ongoing updates about our commitments and progress, please see our Water Positive Future Strategy, ESG Investor Portal, and 2021 Citizenship Report.
1Water that evaporates during the manufacturing of our products or is incorporated into the finished product manufactured at these sites.
2Water from household leaks and evaporation during the use of our products.