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Water-Saving Technologies Help Abbott Save 1 Billion Gallons a Year

Introducing a slew of water-saving technologies to its facilities has helped Abbott save roughly one billion gallons a year despite production growth at many of its plants.

The pharmaceutical giant set a goal of cutting its water consumption to 40 percent below 2004 levels by late 2011, relative to sales. The company announced Monday its efforts have yielded a 37 percent normalized reduction, bringing the company very close to its goal two years ahead of schedule.

This translates to a 7 percent reduction in absolute terms, the company said.

To achieve this, Abbott has conducted a series of "water stress assessments" at 40 of its manufacturing facilities using the Global Water Tool from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, which helps organizations map their water consumption and identify risks in their supply chain.

After the evaluation, the company's plant in Campoverde, Italy cut its water use by 14 percent since 2007, while its facility in Casa Grande, Arizona trimmed water consumption by 11 percent.

The Casa Grande facility also introduced a Leak Tag program aimed at identifying and fixing leaks, in addition to the installation of efficient fixtures and low use landscaping.

Other company projects include efficient irrigation systems, cooling towers and fittings at a new nutritional plant in Singapore that helped the building achieve a "Gold" Green Mark certification from the country's building and construction authority.

Meanwhile, the installation of more efficient water scrubbers to treat dust emissions at Abbott's Sturgis, Mich., site is saving the company 8.5 million gallons of water annually.

The company revealed last month it reduced its absolute coal and oil consumption by 15 percent below 2006 levels last year through fuel switching and increasing its purchases of renewable energy.

It has also worked to trim its packaging by roughly 2.88 million pounds annually since 2007 through the introduction more than 40 packaging projects designed to reduce its overall packaging weight by 5 percent by 2013.

Background image CC licensed by Flickr user chefranden.

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