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Environment and Resources Water

In 2008, Firmenich signed the Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate that commits us to work with others to find solutions to the impending global crisis over the availability of clean water. Since then, our focus has been on how we manage total water use.

Our Strategy and Performance


As participants in the CDP Water Program in FY17, we were awarded a ranking of Leadership A-, and in our industry activity group (Chemicals), we ranked second out of 35 companies. Our score reflects our positive actions in corporate water stewardship, including our ambitious 2020 water reduction goal and the successful implementation of the Water Access, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) program at our manufacturing sites.


The CEO Water Mandate is an initiative supported by committed companies as well as governments and specialized organizations and deals with the problems of water scarcity and sanitation issues. It is designed as a private-public initiative with an emphasis on developing strategies and solutions to contribute positively to the emerging global water crisis.

The signatories of the CEO Water Mandate seek to engage a critical mass of companies from around the world, willing to undertake serious efforts, in partnership with other stakeholders, to address this challenge. Recognizing the positive role that the international business community can play in addressing the water challenge faced by the world today, our Vice-Chairman and former CEO, Patrick Firmenich, was among the first 30 CEO’s worldwide to endorse this initiative.

We strive for excellence in water management across our business. To this end, we set an objective to decrease water use by 25% in water-stressed areas by 2020. Six of our manufacturing sites are in areas where water stress is higher (although they still rank as moderately stressed on a global scale) and an additional four sites are in less water-stressed areas (but of potential concern).

in FY17, we reduced by 10.7% our water use in the locations designated as water-stressed compared to FY16.

Projects to reduce water use in water-stressed locations include the reclamation of wastewater in Shanghai, China, and the elimination of a single-pass cooling water system in Anaheim, California.

Case Studies


In Anaheim, California, a site targeted for water conservation, we have begun to eliminate the use of a single-pass cooling water system and replace it with two different closed-loop cooling systems. We estimate this will reduce total water consumption by 19% based on the 2016 baseline.


In FY17, we continued to build on the successful project to recycle wastewater from the perfumery spray dryers at our Shanghai site, one of our higher water-stressed locations. An additional tank was added at the site and is dedicated to collecting and recycling spray dryer wash water, which can be reused to produce new batches of the same perfumery product.

This project reduces water consumption by approximately 200 metric tonnes a year and hazardous waste generation by the same amount, as this water was previously disposed of as hazardous waste.

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