Sustainable Development Goal 6 commits the world to ensuring that everyone has access to safe water by 2030.
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Managing water strategically: an interview with Marcus Rose, managing director of Ecoprod:
Why should businesses include water consumption in their overall agenda?
Water is a finite resource. By 2030 global water demand is predicted to rise to more than 40% over supply, so it’s vital that organisations play their part in conserving it. Water shortages around the world are becoming an ever greater concern. Every business with a Corporate Social Responsibility policy or agenda must include water saving as part of that strategy.
Do you think businesses have a responsibly to minimise their water consumption?
Yes. Companies waste a huge amount of water and so the responsibility lies with them to reduce waste and look for opportunities to minimise water consumption, from installing water-less urinals and other water saving devices through to encouraging staff not to use bottled water and to turn taps off and so on. This is especially the case within London and the South East region where water resources are stretched mainly due to population growth and urban development.
How is Ecoprod getting involved in World Water day?
We’re very excited to be opening our new showroom at that time so people will be able to come and see our water-saving urinals and taps all in one place. We’re also putting together a guide to green washrooms for organisations who want to learn more about how to save water and reduce their carbon emissions in the washroom environment, and we’ll be publishing that to coincide with World Water Day.
What are some attainable objectives for businesses to set with regard to water usage?
Lots of businesses we talk to have no real idea of how much water they’re using in the first place, let alone how much they are wasting. We always recommend that businesses start by collecting usage data to identify areas where savings might be made, and then implement a series of ‘quick win’ savings that have no cost but just require behaviour changes. The next stage is then to look at the spend to save options and put a return on investment timeline to this, with a view to getting funding to implement plans.
How can a business look to implement an effective water saving strategy?
A successful water saving strategy really requires the engagement of all stakeholders, especially staff, so that everybody takes ownership of the strategy. Setting up a staff group with responsibility for identifying and implementing quick wins rather than imposing a strategy from above can be a good way to do this. We also recommend signing up to a regulated reporting process like The Planet Mark™.
What business value can customers expect through installing Ecoprod systems?
Our waterless urinals can save organisations up to 100,000 litres of water per urinal per year. That’s real, measurable water savings from day one, alongside real time information reports and a return on investment that delivers value and enhances washrooms. Additionally, we supply touch-free sensor taps that can reduce water usage by up to 70%. So, there’s a direct benefit in terms of cost savings that organisations will see immediately. Organisations also see value in terms of reduced cleaning costs, fewer chemicals in their systems and an improved user experience.
How has The Planet Mark™ helped you reduce your water usage?
We have found The Planet Mark™ scheme to be invaluable to us as a way of helping to reduce our water usage. By collecting data and evaluating our usage patterns The Planet Mark™ scheme has also helped us to reduce our carbon footprint significantly as well as cut our paper consumption and our emissions.
Our top five tips to water stewardship in your business
Water is unlike any other commodity on Earth. It underpins almost every activity we pursue in life, not just in our everyday lives, but in food production, energy production and industries of all shapes and sizes.
But with water shortages becoming omnipresent across the globe, water can no longer be seen as an infinite resource.
Unprecedented population growth, coupled with greater wealth leading to far more water-intensive meat consumption; climate change causing more erratic weather and extreme droughts; and pollution are all putting a huge strain on finite water reserves.
Sebsequently, more than five billion people are in danger of suffering from water shortages by 2050 due to climate change, increased demand and polluted supplies.
US Geological Survey figures have revealed that total amount of fresh water on Earth amounts to around 10.6 cubic km. Combined into one, this would produce a droplet with a diameter of about 270 km. However, 99% of that droplet is comprised by groundwater, the vast majority of which is inaccessible. In stark contrast, the total volume amassed from lakes and rivers, our main source of fresh water, produces a droplet a mere 56km in diameter. This tiny fraction sustains most of humanity and is under increasing assault as the planet gets warmer.
Subsequently, some 1.9 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year. Water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century and the consequences are proving to be profound.
With more and more areas struggling with droughts, conserving water is more important than ever. Even if you’re not living in a drought-stricken region, cutting back on water use also means a lower utility bill and helps conserve a precious resource.
Out top five tips to water stewardship:
Measure your water consumption to better understand your usage, ensure you’re being billed correctly and identify hidden leaks swiftly
Install water displacement devices in toilets e.g. Save a flush / Hippo bags. You can often get these for free from your local water company. Devices can be installed to save 1 litre of water per flush from the 7.5 litre cistern volume
Conduct a water audit A commercial water audit examines how much water a business uses and provides detailed information on where opportunities lie for using less (and saving money). Audits can also identify costly water leaks that should be repaired. Some water utilities provide audits to commercial customers for free and even provide rebates for water-saving initiatives
Consider water you use in processes Can you use less, or use rainwater to fulfil your needs? Rainwater harvesting systems (RHS) - harvest the rainwater that has fallen freely from the sky, typically onto the roof of your home. In contrast to the humble water butt, which typically captures about 200 litres of rainwater, a rainwater harvesting tank can easily filter and store up to 6,500 litres of clean water.
Give me tap Reduce bottled water use, and provide tap or filtered water for staff, meeting rooms and customers.
If you are thinking about carbon footprinting and your sustainability agenda for 2018 now is the time to make the most of your year end data. To help you get your data into shape download our Carbon Footprint Data Collection Guide or get in touch if you would like to discuss what The Planet Mark™ can do for you.
Case study: saving water at The Eden Project
The Eden Project, an educational charity, connects us with each other and the living world, exploring how we can work towards a better future. Eden is nestled in a huge crater. Here massive covered Biomes housing the largest rainforest in captivity, Mediterranean landscapes, stunning plants, crop displays, art installations, exhibitions and stories serve as a backdrop to striking contemporary Outdoor Gardens, summer concerts and exciting year-round family events.
The Eden Project has been reporting on its carbon footprint since 2005, and joined The Planet Mark ™ certification programme in 2013
This case study explores the initiatives The Eden Project put in place to reduce its water related emissions by a massive 17% in 2016-17. To download it, just click the image below