Tapping Into Sustainable Water Management

Frédéric Thery of Veolia Water Technologies Asia Pacific analyses how better water management is needed to support the viability of businesses in the long-term; with L’Oreal’s recent campaign serving as a prime example

By Frédéric Thery, Chief Executive Officer, Veolia Water Technologies, Asia Pacific

Water is a valuable commodity used by billions every day, and its usage has intensified over the years. This has increased water demand, resulting in added pressure on the world’s water supply systems.

With a growing global population and escalating consumption from businesses, the competition for water resources is straining the environment, leading to an increase in water stress regions. This can result in several concerns including a negative impact on marine life, an overdraft on groundwater that can affect the environment, and disruptions to business activities across sectors. Already today, 700 million people in 43 countries are living in water scarce regions, and it is expected that 1.8 billion people will be living in regions with absolute water scarcity by 2025.

The use of water is essential to businesses and individuals worldwide. However, the combined threat of water scarcity and growing water demand has imposed an urgent need on global businesses to implement better water management techniques. It is imperative that water should be viewed as a critical resource. As large consumers of water resources, manufacturers need to be more mindful and responsible of their water footprint by practicing sustainable water management.

Governments and authorities can also help to reform water governance by implementing tighter water management protocols, and by making water-related information and statistics easily accessible to businesses. Through these initiatives, manufacturers will then be empowered to better manage their water consumption.

In anticipation of a future when water becomes a protected resource, manufacturers across industries are already actively devising various strategies to reduce their water consumption. Companies in the cosmetics and personal care industry are influencing consumers to increase water conservation efforts by formulating water-saving products, such as dry shampoos and non-rinse body washes that require little to no extra water to use.

In addition, food and beverage manufacturers are reusing treated wastewater for non-potable purposes. The oil & gas industry is recycling product water, pulp and paper businesses are engaging in white water and condensate recycling, and the metal recovery industry is recycling its rinse water for rinsing baths.

Companies that implement water sustainability campaigns to ensure continued water supply have definitely undergone a paradigm shift, as they understand how a water-related disruption can hamper their business activities. In choosing to actively manage their water footprint now, global industry leaders are one step closer to achieving sustainable growth.

Although the public at large is aware of water shortages in different parts of the world, not many realise the severity of the resulting consequences, perhaps until it is too late.

Water saving campaigns driven by world governments and authorities are critical to promote water scarcity awareness and water saving initiatives at the individual level. However, the potential for water savings are significantly greater in the industrial setting, where water usage is much more extensive. Freshwater as a resource has yet to run out completely, but as it becomes increasingly stretched.

Better water management is needed to support the viability of businesses in the long-term, and to ensure that water remains accessible to all.

One globally renowned operator to adopt such a campaign in conjunction with Veolia is L’Oreal; subsequently achieving water management success via a first LEED-certified plant in Indonesia.

A recent Veolia case study explored the achievement in more depth:

Spanning an impressive 66,000 square metres of prime industrial land, L’Oreal Manufacturing Indonesia is the 43rd and largest factory owned by the L’Oreal Group worldwide. Located within the Jababeka Industrial Estate in West Java, the plant supports L’Oreal’s tremendous growth in the Southeast Asian beauty market, manufacturing hair and skin care products under its mass-market brands, L’Oreal Paris and Garnier.

Ari Cahyo Saputro, Environment, Health and Safety Manager, L’Oreal Manufacturing Indonesia, shared: “The L’Oreal Group chose to invest in Indonesia as the country has the highest growth potential in Asia-Pacific. This investment supports our goal of reaching one billion new consumers within the next 10 years. At the moment, 30 percent of our products are manufactured for the domestic market while the other 70 percent is distributed to other countries in the Southeast Asian region.”

The first LEED-Silver certified plant in Indonesia

A world-class facility designed with environmental sustainability in mind, L’Oreal Manufacturing Indonesia is the first factory in the country to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification. LEED-certified companies are recognised internationally with the premier mark of achievement in ‘green building’, and commonly cost less to operate as they derive savings garnered from their environmental efforts.

Working towards LEED certification was an important venture for L’Oreal. The L’Oreal Group has in recent years rigorously stepped up efforts to reduce its environmental footprint through better waste and water management.

The Company has a worldwide goal to reduce absolute carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 60 percent come 2020, and the LEED award for L’Oreal Manufacturing Indonesia was a positive affirmation that L’Oreal was well on its way to achieving its ambitious target.

“Receiving this certification was a strong encouragement for us at L’Oreal,” Saputro said. “It motivated us to explore more efficient ways to manage the plant and our resource consumption. Aside from green building, L’Oreal was also keen to implement a complete wastewater treatment plant onsite to promote smarter management of wastewater discharge. By doing so, we will be better able to achieve our environmental sustainability goals.”

Building on L’Oreal’s sustainability legacy

Armed with an intimate understanding of L’Oreal Manufacturing Indonesia’s manufacturing processes and wastewater challenges, Veolia was able to fully support the cosmetic giant as they continue to integrate sustainability practices into their business model. 

“I believe that our service standard and existing good relationships won us this project with L’Oreal,” Fenian Feng, Process Engineer, Veolia shared. “As an established water solutions provider, Veolia was able to stand out from the crowd as we had the expertise and technologies required to meet L’Oreal’s needs.”

Pleased with the improved wastewater quality, Saputro concluded: “Using Veolia’s recommended water technologies, we managed to reduce our energy consumption, chemicals usage, and sludge production. By taking care of how we dispose our wastewater, L’Oreal is sending a strong corporate message that cements our commitment to environmental sustainability. With the help of likeminded partners such as Veolia, we are confident that we will be able to mitigate new challenges that come our way.”