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Water Stewardship

We actively seek to improve the use of water resources within our own operations and within the watersheds in which we operate. Our commitment extends beyond our operations to partnerships with thought leaders and leading organizations that support advancement of responsible use of the world’s limited fresh water resources to the benefit of nature, communities and business.

Advancing Global Water Stewardship Standards

Global Commitments and Partnerships

Through partnerships with leading global nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), we strengthen our understanding and our ability to impact global challenges facing our business, customers and communities. We are a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact and the CEO Water Mandate, and an active member of the Corporate Eco Forum. Our partnerships with the World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy help advance water conservation and stewardship initiatives in priority regions including China, Mexico and the United States.

Advancing Global Water Stewardship

Ecolab is a founding partner of the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s (AWS) International Water Stewardship Standard, a globally consistent and locally adaptable framework to inform decisions and encourage collective action to promote sustainable freshwater use. In April 2014, Ecolab joined nearly 30 leading organizations from across industries to launch the Standard.

In 2014, we initiated programmes to implement the framework at our own facilities. Our Taicang, China, plant, located in the Yangtze Taihu basin, outside of Shanghai, was a pilot location for the Standard. In September 2015, our Taicang plant became the first facility in the world to be certified under the AWS Standard.

We expanded implementation to our Carson and City of Industry manufacturing plants in California, where extreme drought is impacting all water users. As a leading adopter of the Standard in this region, we partnered with AWS and the WWF to provide training to other local water users. We also collaborated with companies in the watershed to implement the Standard within their facilities and to identify ways to work together to further reduce our collective impacts. And in 2019, the AWS Standard was expanded to Ecolab’s Nalco Water Plant in Garyville, Louisiana focusing on sustainable water balance, good water quality status and important water related areas (IWRA).


To learn more about the AWS Standard, visit www.allianceforwaterstewardship.org.


Water Stewardship is the use of water that is socially equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically beneficial, achieved through a stakeholder-inclusive process that involves site and catchment-based actions. Good water stewards understand their own water use, catchment context and shared risk in terms of water governance, water balance, water quality and important water-related areas; and then engage in meaningful individual and collective actions that benefit people and nature.

Water Stewardship Position

This position formalizes our global commitment to undertake responsible water stewardship by identifying opportunities for our company and our customers to use water resources in a manner that benefits business, communities and nature.

COI CBWT map.png
City of Industry Context Based Water Targets Case Study

Read more about how Ecolab’s City of Industry Plant is using Context Based Water Targeting (CBWT) to take water targets and goals to the next level by accounting for local context.

AWS Certification Plant Imagery
Ecolab’s Manufacturing Plant, Taicang, China
Certified as Water Stewardship Leader

Read more about Ecolab's plant in Taicang, China and their journey to become the first facility in the world to be AWS certified. Sign up to download the case study with more details on the AWS Standard and the specific actions taken by the team to be leading water stewards.

AWS Certification Plant Imagery City of Industry
Ecolab’s City of Industry, California Plant
Certified as Water Stewardship Leader

The team at Ecolab’s COI plant assessed the facility for opportunities to reduce water use across operations to meet the team’s objective to reduce potable water use per ton of product by 10 percent by 2020 from a 2016 baseline. Water reduction opportunities identified included optimization of washout processes and matrices, implementation of behavioral changes through findings of washout studies, leak detection and repair and launch of a formal sustainability sector team to identify and prioritize environmental projects.

Ecolab’s Carson, California Plant AWS Certification
Ecolab’s Carson, California Plant
Certified as Water Stewardship Leader

The team at Ecolab’s Carson plant assessed the facility for opportunities to reduce water use across its operations by 10 percent per ton of product by 2020, from a 2016 baseline. Building on previous improvement projects, the plant prioritized installation of volumetric flow meters, optimization of the washout water programme, reduction of landscaping water, review and relaunch of the on-site water safety plan and implementation of a dry floor policy.

Ecolab’s Nalco Water Plant in Garyville, Louisiana AWS Certification
Ecolab’s Nalco Water Plant in Garyville, Louisiana
Certified as Water Stewardship Leader

The team at Ecolab’s Garyville plant assessed the facility for opportunities to decrease water use across operations to meet the team’s objective to reduce water use per ton of product by 32% from its 2016 baseline by 2020. Water reduction opportunities were identified in the following areas: condensate return, cooling tower optimization, demineralizer regeneration, wastewater recycle, production campaigning, sand filter backwashing and washout optimization. Prioritization of these opportunities involved collaboration across the Nalco Water Commercial Engineering, Corporate Sustainability and Garyville Engineering and Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) teams.

2018 Corporate Sustainability Report clean water pillar image
Building an Action Plan for Smart Water Management

With Ecolab’s Smart Water Navigator and a plan for action, Digital Realty now has a more effective strategy to manage water at its data centres, a greater understanding of water in its organisation and the ability to improve and protect its operations, watersheds and communities.

AWS International Water Stewardship Standard
WWF Water Stewardship