Environmental sustainability group Ceres said Tuesday that in connection to World Water Day five new company signatories — Eileen Fisher, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Annie’s and Kellogg Co. and Xylem — have joined its Connect the Dots campaign to highlight the urgency of smart water solutions and policies in drought-plagued California.
These companies have collectively committed to saving nearly one billion gallons of water through 2020 through current efforts and new goals, and will be working with Ceres to champion increased water stewardship in California.
In addition, Ceres announced that existing Connect The Drops companies made new commitments at Tuesday’s White House Water Summit.
They include Levis Strauss, which said it was making its innovative Water<Less finishing techniques publicly available to spur water conservation across the apparel industry. The techniques reduce water use in garment finishing by up to 96 percent and have helped the company save more than 1 billion liters of water since 2011.
Levis noted that the techniques were introduced in 2011 and have reduced the water used in garment finishing by up to 96 percent. Levi’s also said at the White House Summit that it will expand its partnership with the Project WET Foundation to train its employees to become water-conservation ambassadors, empowered to educate their local communities about the importance of saving water.
Levi’s said it is committing to provide this water-education training to 100 percent of corporate employees by 2020.
“Water is a critical resource for our business, the plant and people around the globe, but usable supply is becoming increasingly scarce,” said Michael Kobori, vice president of sustainability at Levi Strauss. “We’ve been long committed to being water stewards, but realize more needs to be done. We’re setting competition aside and encouraging others to utilize these open-source tools.”
The company is sharing 21 water-saving techniques, which can be founds on its Web site, with a range of applications for denim finishing, including ozone and wash cycle combinations.
Among the other Ceres Connect the Dots firms, General Mills pledged to champion development of water stewardship plans in priority watersheds in its global supply chains by 2025. As part of this commitment, the company will lead corporate collaboration efforts, foster development of foundational tools, and advocate for science-based policy in these watersheds.
Genentech said it is piloting a project to treat manufacturing process wastewater and distribute it via a purple pipe network for reuse in buildings throughout its South San Francisco campus. The project is expected to save 60 million gallons of water per year by 2020.
Ceres was also recognized by the White House for its efforts to help foster investment in resilient and sustainable water infrastructure through the Water Climate Bonds Standard. Being developed in partnership with The Climate Bonds Initiative, the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, CDP, and the World Resources Institute, the Water Climate Bonds Standard provides investors with verifiable, science-based criteria for evaluating bonds earmarked for financing sustainable water infrastructure projects.
The White House announced more than $1 billion in commitments from the private sector over the next decade to conduct research and development into new technologies. General Electric accounted for $500 million of that total, pledging the investment to fuel innovation, expertise and global capabilities in advanced water, wastewater and reuse technologies.
In addition, nearly $4 billion in private capital was announced for investment in a range of water-infrastructure projects across the country. It includes $1.5 billion from Ultra Capital to finance decentralized and scalable water-management systems and solutions and $500 million from Sustainable Water to develop water reclamation and reuse systems.
“Water scarcity is a growing global — and for many of us, local — risk,” said Brooke Barton, senior director of the water program at Ceres. “At Ceres, we know that protecting our water supplies is critical for economic resilience and growth, which is why we’re working to get companies, investors and other economic players to value water more highly and adopt business and investment practices that reflect water’s true worth to our economy, communities and the environment.”
Ceres is nonprofit organization advocating for sustainability leadership that mobilizes a powerful network of investors, companies and public interest groups to build a sustainable global economy.