Sustainability Within Reach
Thoughts and observations on sustainability

SDG 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Sustainability Within Reach Supports the Sustainable Development Goals

“The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) define global sustainable development priorities and aspirations for 2030 and seek to mobilize global efforts around a common set of goals and targets. The SDGs call for worldwide action among governments, business and civil society to end poverty and create a life of dignity and opportunity for all, within the boundaries of the planet.”

Here is SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

  • By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all
  • By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
  • By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
  • By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
  • By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate
  • By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes
  • By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies
  • Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management

I have identified two companies that have included SDG 6 in their sustainability reports and how they are addressing it.

Ball Corporation

In its 2016 Sustainability Report, Ball Corporation explains how it is supporting SDG 6 in its operations through its water reclamation process. Because it wanted to reduce water usage in its extrusion process that produces aluminum containers, Ball devised a way to maximize water reclamation.

“Because the impact extrusion process requires significant amounts of water, our engineering teams brainstormed ideas to install a full treatment system to reclaim as much water as possible. The plant partnered with a local company to design an onsite system to recycle the water, eliminating discharge costs and highlighting our commitment to water stewardship in the local community. The collaboration of third-party expertise with our water reclamation experience was successful.”

“Though the plant only began producing cans in the second half of 2015, the project already has achieved significant results, reclaiming 95 percent of the plant’s water with only 5 percent lost through evaporation, during reverse osmosis, and in the filter cake. Like many best practices within our operations, this successful new process has been shared with other Ball engineers.”

SAB MILLER

Water is the heart of SAB Miller’s products. In its Sustainable Development Report 2016, the company explains its impacts on water in the greater context of the world’s sustainability issues.

“Water scarcity is one of the most significant impacts of climate change and already affects more than 40% of the global population. This is a serious issue that has major implications for a global brewer: put simply, no water, no beer. At the same time, water scarcity is holding back economic and social development for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Tackling this successfully will release untapped prosperity for everyone – from the smallest farmers to global manufacturing businesses and entire national economies. Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to ensure access to water and sanitation for all by 2030. Within this sit targets for reducing water use, improving water quality, and managing water resources in an integrated way that involves local communities, business and civil society.”

SAB Miller set its water reduction targets and reported on them.

“Less is more

The less water we use to run and clean our breweries, the less energy we use for heating, cooling and treating water, and the smaller our impact on local communities. In the prior year, we beat our target to reduce brewery water use by 25% against a 2008 base, achieving an efficiency ratio of 3.3 hectolitres of water per hectolitre of lager produced. We are now on track to meet our revised target of 3.0 hl/hl by 2020, having achieved an average efficiency ratio of 3.2 hl/hl in the year. At 25 of our breweries, average annual water efficiency is already below 3.0 hl/hl. In absolute terms, we used 597 million hl of water to produce our lager (2015: 592 million hl).”

My next post will cover SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy.