This article is sponsored by Pentair.
As we emerge from the pandemic, one outcome is the increased value placed by employees to work for purpose-driven companies. Research by McKinsey demonstrates that it is not enough for employees to feel that they are working for a purpose-driven company — they are seeking more opportunities for purpose in their day-to-day work.
Pentair’s purpose is to create a better world for people and the planet through smart, sustainable water solutions. We have a long history of developing sustainable solutions that have resulted in positive impacts for people and the planet. As we work to accelerate our sustainability journey, engaging and empowering our global employees is essential for us to deliver on our social responsibility and sustainability goals and power our business future.
We are part of a growing cohort of companies leaning into inclusion to achieve both our business and sustainability goals, and believe it is important to share key learnings as we make progress towards common global goals. Here are three ways Pentair is working to engage our employees to drive positive impacts across our business.
1. Leveraging site-level expertise to drive holistic impact
Making the most of water, life’s most essential resource, is at the core of all that we do. This includes driving water reduction and reuse activities at our own operations, and we are targeting a 30 percent reduction in overall water withdrawal by 2030 from a 2019 baseline. Achieving this goal is a team effort, involving over 40 manufacturing locations.
Our teams around the globe have come together to identify opportunities to drive the greatest holistic impact on reducing our water withdrawal, using our Water Conservation Plan as the guide. One success story is the design of a facility water reuse strategy for our Reynosa, Mexico manufacturing site. Using Pentair technology to treat and recirculate water throughout the building, the system is projected to save up to 4 million gallons of water per year. Additionally, the site installed a generator that provides cleaner and more reliable energy, including more efficient chillers that are projected to reduce water use by 4 million gallons annually. Working with our enterprise team, our team in Reynosa was instrumental in making this project a success.
Another success story is at our foundry in Ashland, Ohio, where the maintenance team took initiative in identifying water usage as an opportunity for improvement. As part of this effort, they determined that water-cooled heat exchangers were running at times when the equipment wasn’t operating. The site was able to design water recirculation into the cooling system, saving approximately 10 million gallons of water annually.
The maintenance team at Pentair’s site in Ashland, Ohio identified opportunities to reduce water usage. Image courtesy of Pentair.
Engaging and empowering our teams to help drive meaningful action has been a significant contributor to our overall water withdrawal reduction. The combination of employee-led projects and enterprise initiatives delivered a meaningful impact to our overall water footprint in 2022, and helped us to bring our total water withdrawal below our 2019 baseline and representing a 9.3 percent decrease in enterprise water withdrawal compared to 2021.
2. Embedding sustainability in our processes
Minimizing environmental impact is not only essential to Pentair’s operations, but also to the products we create and solutions we offer. Innovation is at the core of creating a sustainable future for our world and our business. We have an engaged group of innovation engineers who are motivated towards developing technology that enables the change they want to see in the world. To match this engagement, we needed processes and priorities to help harness this excitement and engagement and make progress on sustainable product design. So, we went to work and developed and then introduced a product sustainability scorecard into our new product development and commercialization process.
To achieve this milestone, we engaged technology leaders, product directors and engineering managers across Pentair’s global business units in tandem with the social responsibility team and a third-party sustainable design partner to create our Product Sustainability Scorecard. This Product Sustainability Scorecard analyzes five impacts from a product’s life cycle — water use, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, resource use efficiency and material health — and incorporates an assessment of these impacts as part of new product design.
More than 300 employees including product managers, product engineers, operation engineers, marketing and leadership participated in training sessions to help ensure adoption and integration of the Scorecard and sustainable product design principles. With this work, we achieved our target of assessing 100 percent of new products through the Product Sustainability Scorecard in 2022.
3. Involving employees as inclusion champions
Pentair is committed to fostering a culture of belonging and equity where diversity is celebrated and an inclusive mindset is the norm for all leaders and employees. We have set a strategic target to achieve an inclusive and diverse workforce and leadership team, with a specific focus on increasing women in leadership positions globally and people of color representation in U.S. leadership positions.
We believe that one key to our success has been through the approach that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a shared responsibility for all employees. This is exemplified through our five active employee-led business resource groups (BRGs): the Black Employee Network; Latino Resources Group; PREP Group for emerging professionals; P.R.I.D.E. (Pentair Respect Inclusion Diversity Engagement) Alliance; and Women’s Resource Group. The BRGs provide an opportunity for employees to develop connections, share experiences, support each other in professional and personal development, and advocate for programs at Pentair. In 2022, our BRGs hosted 27 employee events on various topics related to the primary identity of the groups.
In addition to our BRGs, employees also lead DEI efforts as "Inclusion Champions," serving as facilitators of live group discussions sessions as part of our "Foundations of an Inclusive Workplace" educational program. First launched in 2021 to our U.S. professional population, this program will be rolled out globally in late summer.
We are very proud of the work accomplished by our committed employees to advance Pentair’s social responsibility strategy. We are committed to building an environment where employees are energized by our purpose and have exciting opportunities to grow their careers in a diverse and inclusive environment while they make a difference.
We plan to continue to engage with our stakeholders on areas where we can continue to improve and progress. Together, we have the opportunity to make life’s essential resources better — for people and the planet.
Pentair’s social responsibility efforts and corporate responsibility program are guided by Making Better Essential. The company recognizes that the decisions it makes, the products it creates, the solutions it offers and the partnerships it forms are opportunities to make the world better. Central to its purpose, Pentair believes that making life better for people and our planet is essential.