Saving water saves money. So say companies surveyed last month by research analyst Ethical Corporation. According to the recently released report, Unlocking the Profit in Water Savings, 99 percent of corporate sustainability managers saw water becoming a top priority for businesses in the next five to 10 years. Over half (52 percent) of sustainability managers ranked ‘water stewardship’ within the top five most important issues they are dealing with. Water management is addressed mainly through reducing use and increasing efficiency for 34 percent of the companies surveyed.
Among the examples of money saved through conserving water is Sainsbury’s, the British supermarket chain, which saved 1.6 million pounds (about $2.4 million) after fixing leaks, installing sensors on urinals, and reducing toilet water capacity. Whitbread, a British hotel and restaurant chain company, saved £350,000 ($519,000) a year after installing low-flow faucets and shower heads, sensors on urinals, and dual-flush toilets in some of its properties.
A podcast, released by Ethical Corporation, features Andy Wales, head of sustainability for SABMiller, a brewing company that includes Miller and Foster’s. “Our internal target is to improve our water efficiency by 25 percent by 2015,” Wales said during the interview. “At the moment, it takes us just under four and a half liters of water to make a liter of beer, which is better than the brewing industry average. But we need to go much further, so our 2015 target is that 25 percent reduction to 3.5 liters for a liter of beer.”
“Water is a critical resource that underpins economic growth, underpins social development, and obviously underpins environmental protection. And yet, the discussion of water issues, of water as a resource, is often stuck in the environmental ministry,” Wales said. “Those ministers are very good ministers, but they are not the most powerful in the government. We need to get finance ministers, energy ministers understand what the impact is of water for the growth of their country.”