Ecolab, in an initiative to offer sustainable solutions provides its more than one million customers in over 170 countries strategies to reduce energy, water and other natural resource consumption, enhance air quality, minimize environmental releases and improve productivity and end products while boosting the bottom line. Emilio Tenuta, Vice President, Corporate Sustainability, Ecolab, spoke to Clean India Journal during his recent visit to the United Nations CEO Water Mandate Conference held in Mumbai. Excerpts
How is Ecolab conveying the message of Corporate Sustainability?
Sustainability is embedded in Ecolab’s history and vision. In fact, it’s core to our purpose. We provide and protect what is vital: clean water, safe food, abundant energy and healthy environment. As the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services, Ecolab plays an important role in meeting the changing needs of our evolving world. We manage our own operations responsibly and find solutions to the sustainability challenges facing our customers, helping them succeed.
How do partnerships with NGOs contribute to Ecolab’s sustainable mission?
With concern for water scarcity and climate change growing around the globe, we’ve seen more and more of our customers collaborating with NGOs to manage those risks and explore new standards and solutions. At Ecolab, we believe cooperation is necessary for effectively addressing sustainability challenges. Businesses, government and NGOs must join forces to develop and advance new sustainability solutions, focused in the regions facing the most significant risks.
NGOs can serve as an effective and unbiased convener for inspiring dialogue and best practice sharing. One important example that I’ve noticed is in the burgeoning interest in public/private sector collaboration around water stewardship. Over the past decade, a number of NGOs have been founded to build awareness and commitment for water stewardship, including the CEO Water Mandate and The Alliance for Water Stewardship, among others.
In 2012, Ecolab signed a two-year agreement with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to work with the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) to road-test the beta version of the AWS International Water Stewardship Standard with select customers in the Yangtze Basin in Suzhou, China. We’re excited to participate in this process, because the Standard provides water users with an approach for evaluating the existing processes and performances within their sites, and ensures that responsible stewardship actions are in place to minimize negative impacts and maximize positive impacts on a particular watershed. We’ll also be working to develop an online Water Action Hub for diverse stakeholders to share best practices and solutions.
What is the marketing strategy of conveying sustainable solutions offered to Ecolab clients?
Many of our customers have already established sustainability goals, which we work hard to help them achieve. In general, we are committed to delivering innovations and solutions that meet environmental goals, while achieving the efficiency improvements and performance results that our customers have come to expect.
Our approach starts with science. We take a fact-based, holistic view of the environmental, economic and social impact of our offerings, helping our customers to do more with less. We call this approach “Total Impact,” which means that we consider how each of our solutions increases efficiency, minimizes use of natural resources, and improves safety – from sourcing, to manufacturing, through use, and through disposal. Through Total Impact, we help customers achieve their performance, safety and sustainability goals. And with more than one million customer locations around the globe, by helping each customer do more with less, we are also helping people around the world live life more fully.
What are the environmental, social & economic performance benefits offered by Ecolab for its clients?
Our customers seek to use our solutions to meet their operational and economic business drivers, while optimizing water and energy use. For example, our Aquanomic technology is a ground-breaking laundry system that delivers exceptional cleaning results at lower temperatures, reducing water and energy consumption by up to 40% – and saving money. We never skimp on performance. Providing clean, healthy and safe environment is paramount to the success of our customers’ businesses.
How does sustainability boost the bottom line of the end user?
Ecolab develops sustainable solutions that maximize efficiency and performance, while minimizing waste and cost. Many of our offerings dramatically reduce water and energy consumption, which also result in significant cost savings. We’re so committed to developing triple bottom line solutions, that we’ve created a program called eROI™, which credibly measures and clearly communicates the sustainable business value we deliver to our customers.
What are the various factors that contribute to sustainability?
For Ecolab, it starts with helping customers meet their goals. Sustainability programmes should always align with a clear business case. Cooperation is also critical – both inside an organization and externally with broader industry or public/private partnerships. Innovation is also a critical piece of the puzzle. Our world faces significant environmental challenges that demand transformational solutions. Ecolab’s RD&E scientists and engineers are always working to challenge the status quo by developing new opportunities to reduce water and energy consumption, and minimize or eliminate waste.
Ecolab’s role in UN CEO Water Mandate?
2013 marks the first full year for Ecolab as an endorsing company to the CEO Water Mandate. In early March, Ecolab attended the Mandate’s Annual Working Conference, which provided a powerful opportunity to engage with leading customers, governments and non-governmental organizations and to further explore how Ecolab’s water solutions and expertise can help address our growing global water challenges.