Cemex takes lead as water use tops corporate agendaMarch 2013
Building materials group Cemex is standardising how it calculates and cuts water consumption throughout the company.
Cemex plans to introduce the system at plants in all 50 countries where it operates by the end of this year, and will measure its footprint and then adopt policies to improve water efficiency and reduce its use.
The project was presented to European Commission members at a conference in December. Hosts at the event included the Spanish EU representatives, environmental NGOs, think tanks, trade associations and ambassadors.
The project results from a partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, an environmental consultancy, and follows predictions that the number of water-stressed regions will rise, hitting water-reliant businesses.
Cemex senior vice-president of energy and sustainability Luis Farias said: “Under existing climate change scenarios, it is predicted that almost half the world’s population will live in areas of high water stress by 2030. It is our responsibility to ensure that efficient water management plays an important role in our business.”
At the same time, the Carbon Trust has introduced the world’s first international Water Standard award to encourage business to measure, manage and reduce water use.
An independent company that promotes a sustainable, low-carbon economy, the trust says businesses worldwide are slow to act on water economy even though global freshwater demand by 2030 is expected to be 40% higher than today’s supply.
Interviews by the trust with 475 executives at corporations in Brazil, China, South Korea, the UK and the US showed only one in seven of their companies had a water reduction target or reported publicly on water performance.
Tom Delay, the trust’s chief executive, warned: “Addressing water use within a business has not, until now, been high on the agenda for many businesses.
“However, the harsh realities of future water scarcity mean this needs to change, and fast. We’ve launched the Water Standard to help companies monitor and manage their water usage and build resource efficiency into future business plans.”
The UK’s Sainsbury supermarket chain, an award holder, expected to halve water use by the end of last month, achieving a saving equivalent to 393 Olympic-sized swimming pools every year.
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