Every drop counts

Water is increasingly being recognized as a critical sustainable development issue in international politics. The availability of freshwater per capita is steadily decreasing on a global scale, and in many regions water resources cannot meet demand. Around 20% of the world’s population lack access to safe drinking water, and 40% are without adequate sanitation. In March 2009, government representatives plus NGOs and companies from 110 countries explicitly put water on the international agenda at the World Water Forum in Istanbul.

Business, of course, is an important player in this context. Water constraints pose a potential financial risk for businesses, either directly or indirectly. Business may be part of the problem, but business may also have the solutions to the challenges in the form of know-how and technology.

Novozymes’ ambition is to address the challenges. That means demonstrating resource efficiency and managing resource supply. Furthermore, Novozymes wants to account for the overall impact of our technology from a life cycle perspective and improve our technology in order to contribute to increased resource efficiency.

In 2009, a comprehensive project explored Novozymes’ role, risks, and opportunities in a world where water supplies are increasingly constrained. We are striving to make water a manageable issue in the daily business. Our current use of water and handling of wastewater have been evaluated, and appropriate measures have been taken at both local and regional level. One important outcome of the project has been new short-term and long-term targets for water consumption.

The use of water at our own sites and in the world outside is now an integral element in Novozymes’ strategy.