Reducing Novozymes’ water use

Water is increasingly being recognized as a critical sustainable development issue. At Novozymes we have set ambitious targets to reduce the use of water in our production.

With growing constraints on global resources, Novozymes is dedicated to optimizing its operations year on year, so as to reduce the consumption of natural resources and mitigate the negative environmental impact of its production processes.

Novozymes is committed to improving its water efficiency. Looking at the full period from 2009-14, Novozymes has successfully managed to decouple absolute water consumption from business growth. In the same period, the company improved its water efficiency from 27% to 37%, compared with 2005 levels.

These improvements have been achieved through a number of environmental initiatives to reduce water consumption and reuse water by optimizing the company’s production processes.

In 2014, Novozymes implemented specific absolute targets for energy and water consumption and established local task forces to encourage local ownership of efficiency targets for its production sites. In North America, Novozymes’ engineers successfully developed a new way to map water usage in production, which resulted in a reduction of more than 250,000 cubic meters (roughly 15% of total consumption) with no additional investment. Additionally, in China, the company was able to successfully address one of its biggest challenges from 2013 and resolve a leakage from underground pipes at one of its facilities.

It is important to note that the return on investment for water savings projects are typically not as good as for energy savings projects, as water is comparatively inexpensive. This is why Novozymes focuses on efficiency projects with positive effects on both energy and water consumption, which generate greater cost savings and a better return on investment. However, for this reason, it is challenging to disclose the specific investments and annual cost savings from water efficiency projects alone.

To continue Novozymes’ path to water sustainability, the company adopted a new long-term target for 2020 to: Improve water efficiency by 25%, compared with a 2014 baseline.

For more information on the company’s latest performance and new operational eco-efficiency targets, please see our Novozymes Annual Report 2014.