Abbott Reports 1 B-Gallon Water Savings Annually

Abbott is saving 1 billion gallons of water annually since launching a comprehensive, global effort in 2004 to preserve natural resources through reducing use of water in the production of its nutrition and other health care products.

In 2004, the company set out to achieve a reduction in water use compared to its 2004 baseline by the end of 2011, when normalized to sales.

Abbott has nearly reached its goal of a 40 percent reduction in water use two years ahead of time as its manufacturing water use has decreased 37 percent, normalized to sales. The company has also achieved a 7 percent reduction in absolute terms, while at the same time increasing production at many of its plants as demand for its products has grown.

"Abbott is committed to using water and other natural resources in a responsible and sustainable manner," said Corlis Murray, vice president, Global Engineering Services, Abbott. "Water is essential to our ability to provide our customers with the health care products from Abbott they depend on, but the quality of water we return to the environment is also important."

Abbott's global water use policy includes a commitment to:

  • Increasing water use efficiency at its manufacturing sites worldwide;
  • Understanding and mitigating risks of water stress and scarcity; and
  • Educating communities where it operates on water conservation.

Abbott is incorporating water-saving design and technology into new and existing facilities. For example, Abbott's plant in Sturgis, Mich., is utilizing more efficient water scrubbers to control dust emissions, resulting in the saving of 8.5 million gallons of water per year. The company's Casa Grande, Ariz., plant has installed water-efficient fixtures, low water use

landscaping and implemented a "Leak Tag" program that ensures leaks are detected and fixed promptly. In addition, after being sent to the local water treatment plant for cleaning, some water is now returned to the community for uses such as in landscaping and golf course irrigation.

Abbott's nutritional plant in Singapore was built from the ground up with several environmental objectives in mind, including water conservation. The plant uses water-efficient fittings, irrigation systems and cooling towers. As a result, the company received the Green Mark "Gold" certification from the Singapore Building and Construction Authority.

Abbott is using the World Business Council for Sustainable Development's "Global Water Tool," which is helping its 40 major manufacturing plants throughout the world assess their local water needs. It compares Abbott's water uses with external data, creates performance metrics and geographic mapping, facilitates communications with internal and external stakeholders on water challenges, and fosters water conservation and efficiency.

Following water stress assessments, a number of Abbott plants have already achieved major reductions in consumption including Casa Grande (an 11 percent reduction since 2007) and Campoverde, Italy (a 14 percent reduction during the same period).

In Arizona, Abbott and its non-profit foundation, the Abbott Fund, have partnered with Project WET, the state's leading water education program for teachers and students. The program engages people of all ages in learning about water resources and conservation.