Water Scarcity & Sustainable Growth
Date: October, 2016
 

In less than 20 years, the world will need about 40 per cent more water than today’s accessible supply to maintain food production, generate electricity and provide clean drinking water. From California to Brazil to China, it’s very clear that water availability has become a major concern. Water scarcity is not a new issue for the Middle East and Africa region either, but it is growing in severity and urgency. The region receives only one per cent of the world’s precipitation and 85 per cent of that is lost through evaporation. If current water use rates continue in the UAE, the country will run out of fresh water in about fifty years.

As fresh water becomes scarcer, finding ways to reduce, reuse and recycle water and not compromise on the consumer experience is becoming an every-day exercise. Every day, I see growing conviction to transform the way businesses operate. Customers are intensely focused on reducing their use of water, and public scrutiny of excessive water use has the potential to threaten the reputation of even the strongest brands.
 
Water usage is a critical area of focus for many, amongst which I would like to highlight the hospitality industry: an industry considered as a significant opportunity in the Middle East and of key importance for the regional economy. In 2015, travel and tourism contributed to 8 per cent of the total GDP ($194.5 billion USD) and 7.8 percent of total employment (5,920,000 jobs). The industry’s contribution to GDP growth even outpaced the overall country GDP growth in many of the countries including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
 
Expectations for the future of the industry are aggressive. For example, the UAE government has an initiative to dramatically increase tourism, aiming to attract 25 million tourists annually by 2020. By comparison, approximately 11 million hotel guests stayed in Dubai in 2014, which was an increase of 5.6 percent from 2013. As the region prepares for more travelers with more diverse interests and expectations, the hospitality industry faces new opportunity but with that come challenges.
 
The need for the industry to rethink how it operates in order to sustainably meet increasing demand is urgent - and Ecolab has the knowledge and the capabilities to help drive positive action. We are on the ground at more than one million customer locations globally, applying innovative technology, precise data capabilities and unmatched service to help our customers do more with less.
 
Our 1,600 research, development and engineering associates are continuously developing new products and services to further our ability to help our customers. We assess the products we design against our sustainability criteria and are focused on delivering solutions that use less water and less energy while generating less waste. In 2015, Ecolab helped customers save more than 538 billion liters of water!
 
Ecolab products are developed using responsible ingredients with careful consideration for the impact our solutions will have on human health, water, air, energy and waste streams, without compromising performance. One such example of a sustainable innovation is our newly-introduced Sanitizing Wash ‘N Walk™: an enzyme based rinse-free floor and drain cleaner and sanitizer. This is the only product that combines enzyme-based cleaning with sanitization, eliminating grease banks that cause slips and falls while killing 99.9 percent of bacteria on floors and in drains, creating a cleaner, safer kitchen. It saves water and labour with its rinse-free cleaning procedure. And it ensures employees safety. Nexa is another one of our latest innovations in the Hand Hygiene business.These concentrate dispensers dilute our soap and sanitizer at the customer site client side reducing waste and shipping while delivering the best results.
 
Beyond our solutions for customers, we’ve partnered with Trucost - the world’s leader in valuing natural capital, to develop a publicly available tool to help all businesses better understand the value of water to their business. The Water Risk Monetizer (www. waterriskmonetizer.com) provides insight into site-specific water risks with information that can be used to help business prioritize water projects, develop long-term water strategies and support plans to ensure business continuity.
 
We are proud of the work we do to help ensure a future where businesses, the environment and society can thrive.
 
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