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Managing water to reduce consumption

Sustainable water use is important to us. We rely on water mainly for use in our facilities, for cooling and cleaning, and for product formulation and manufacturing of water-based coatings.

GRI 303–1

Nine of our sites are in water-stressed areas where we take special measures to protect water. A significant number of our sites already reuse water, for example in their cooling systems.

In the manufacturing process, some production equipment (high-speed dissolvers, mills) needs cooling. The cold water used for this flows through a circuit, which is kept at a low temperature (6-8°C) via a chiller or cooling tower or a combination of both. This system is in use at all Beckers sites except one: Sweden uses an open circuit to cool machinery. This process will be replaced by a chiller with a closed-loop circuit in 2024, which will have a positive impact on water consumption.

In countries where water sources are under stress, several projects have been initiated. The aim is to collect and store rainwater for a variety of purposes. In India, rain water is collected for harvesting and irrigation. In Vietnam, it is used to fill a reservoir for fire protection. In Argentina, we collect rainwater to irrigate a company vegetable garden for employees.

Water is not one of our material topics as our global consumption is currently marginal. However, we do monitor yearly water consumption closely as part of our initiatives within the 2030 Sustainability Strategy. Measures to monitor and prevent contamination of groundwater are standard procedure and comply with all local laws. We regularly review and monitor whether a topic – such as water – might become material.

On our site in Goa, India, rainwater is collected from the rooftop and goes through pipelines directly to a water collection tank.

Our water use in 2021

Our total water use for the Group in 2021 rose by 1,154 m3 compared to 2020 which amounts to an increase of 1 percent.

  • In the UK, water usage increased by 1,668 m3, partly due to a water leak in January and a problem with a chiller unit at the site.
  • In Sweden, water usage rose by 2,387 m3. The high water consumption in Q3 was likely due to increased cooling during a period of warm weather.
  • In South Africa, water usage went up by 865 m3 due to a leak in the underground main supply. The leak was repaired in June 2021. The general pipe infrastructure at the site is old, and another significant water leak, which was detected in December 2021, will be fixed in early 2022.
  • Water consumption at our site in Goa, India, declined by 1,520 m3. The decrease was affected by the extended monsoon season which lasted six weeks longer than usual.

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