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Virginie Helias headshot

P&G Announces a Water Positive Future Strategy: Our Vision to Reduce, Restore and Respond

By Virginie Helias
colorado river

This article is sponsored by Procter & Gamble

My passion for water is in my genes. Jacques Oudin was not only my father but a member of the Senate of France where he developed and passed the Oudin-Santini law in 2005. That legislation allowed local authorities, trade unions and water agencies to devote up to 1 percent of their water and sanitation budgets to aid international projects that help restore and protect water. This international financing approach established a framework for decentralized cooperation in water and sanitation, establishing a model to encourage adoption by other countries to unlock new flows of financing and inspire collective action for water and sanitation.

His legacy continues to inspire me every day. 

Seventeen years since his effort, many regions of the world still face extreme water stress. In fact, the United Nations projects that by 2025, two-thirds of the global population will live in water-stressed areas. This stark statistic illustrates the need for all of us — individuals, communities and companies — to take collective action to protect this precious resource.

At P&G, we want to help build a water positive future that can sustain people and nature, now and for generations to come. We know working toward a water positive future requires widespread solutions, collective actions and bold innovations.

Procter Gamble river of progress water positive future
(Click to enlarge)

We have just announced our comprehensive strategy toward a Water Positive Future.

As always, this responsibility to act starts in our own operations to conserve local water supplies. Our 138 facilities around the world continue to advance on-site water efficiency solutions and partner to develop new technology to increase use of recycled water, effectively achieving results toward the goals we set forth in Ambition 2030.

That’s why we are announcing two new water goals: to restore more water than is consumed at P&G manufacturing sites located in 18 water-stressed areas around the world, and a new commitment recognized as first-of-its-kind to restore more water than is consumed during consumer use of our products in the high water-stressed metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and Mexico City. 

Our new goals 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. "Water consumed" is the water that evaporates or is included as a product ingredient during the manufacturing of our products. And for consumers, we define "water consumed" as the water that leaks from household pipes or evaporates during the use of our products.

Procter Gamble water resporation activity

We are already advancing long-term water restoration projects in critical areas of the U.S. in California and Arizona, working with on-the-ground partners who have a deep knowledge of local challenges, solutions, communities and landscapes. We now extend our support for new water restoration projects in Utah and Idaho. And in the coming years, we plan to announce projects in our other priority water-stressed areas around the world, including China, India, Mexico, Italy, Spain and Turkey (see above).
These projects will support a wide range of water restoration solutions such as managing wetlands, reforesting land, improving irrigation systems, using sensors to identify and stop leaks, and supporting transformational conservation programs. Together, they will help protect ecosystems, recharge groundwater supplies, reduce the amount of water diverted from essential bodies of water, and improve water quality for the communities and wildlife that depend on it.  

But P&G also has a unique opportunity to inspire more sustainable use of water among the 5 billion consumers around the world who use our products every day. Using our experience in innovation and consumer understanding, we are unlocking new solutions to water challenges that enable our consumers to reduce their water footprint. 

In 2019, we achieved our goal to provide one billion people with access to water-efficient products. Cascade, Tide, Downy, Swiffer, Pantene, H&S, Herbal Essences and others brought their innovative formulas to consumers all over the world to enable people to reduce in-home water use during everyday household activities. 

Today, together with our brands, we continue to create and share products, tools and information to help our consumers use less water at home. For example, by skipping the sink with Cascade and choosing the dishwasher, households can save up to 140 gallons (around 530 liters) of water per week. We are also excited about product development innovations from Pantene and Rejoice to formulate No Rinse Conditioners that enable people to condition and nourish their hair without the need for water.

Procter Gamble Cascade water positive future
(Click to enlarge)

Beyond these efforts, we know collective action must continue to make everyday living more sustainable.

As founding members of the 50L Home Coalition, a collaboration with other global public, private and NGO leaders, we are pushing to reinvent the future of urban water use in homes that can use 10 times less water than most use today. 

The path forward will be challenging. The challenge is urgent, difficult and bigger than us. P&G is more than ever committed to doing our part to care for our shared home.

Throughout this journey that I help lead at P&G, I always carry with me my father’s vision for a more equitable and sustainable water future, embracing his pursuit of collective global action to drive impact at scale.

Learn more about our strategy toward a water positive future: P&G's Strategy Toward a Water Positive Future, P&G Unveils a New Strategy to Help Address Global Water Crisis, A Closer Look at P&G’s New Strategy to Help Address the Global Water Crisis, and 2021 Citizenship Report

This article is sponsored by Procter & Gamble

Images courtesy of P&G

Virginie Helias headshot

With more than thirty years in brand management and innovation, Virginie has broad experience across multiple categories which has built her skills in global to local brand management. She has worked on several of P&G’s multi-billion dollar brands, including: Pantene, Ariel/Tide and Pampers. Virginie has extensive international experience, having been based in France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United States. Today, Virginie serves as P&G’s Chief Sustainability Officer where her mission is to develop the company’s strategies and goals on sustainability and operationalize them across businesses and regions.

Read more stories by Virginie Helias