Conserving and improving access to clean water is a global challenge.
However, this vital and finite resource is under serious threat.
That's why Merck has programs in place to help protect our environment and conserve water resources.
Our water quality and conservation efforts support our Environmental Sustainability strategy, one of four key pillars in our Corporate Responsibility approach.
AVAILABLE FOR USE
Only a small fraction – about one percent – of the world's water is fresh water available for use. A growing world population (estimated to increase from 7.5 billion in 2018 to more than 9 billion by 2050) and impacts associated with climate change and land use are putting our fresh water resources at risk.
In many parts of the world, even where fresh water is abundant, inadequate sanitation facilities and insufficient regulation jeopardize water supplies, making the water unsafe for drinking, bathing or cooking. Consumption of contaminated water can result in life-threatening disease.
Our business, suppliers, communities and customers all need access to clean water, and we are committed to managing the environmental impacts of our products throughout their life cycles–from discovery through manufacturing, use and disposal.
Our global water strategy aims to achieve sustainable water management within our operations and our supply chain.
Our endorsement of the UN CEO Water Mandate reflects our public commitment to adopt and implement a comprehensive approach to water management.
In addition to conserving limited supplies of clean water and reducing environmental impact, efficient use of water reduces our operating spend by reducing the amount of energy used to pump water and the cost of water treatment. Over the last 5 years, we have reduced our global water use by 36 percent. Our new water goals are to maintain global water use at or below 2015 levels through 2025, and to implement water conservation plans for our sites in locations facing high levels of water stress by 2020.
Our Danville, Pennsylvania site in the U.S. completed a water-reduction project that won the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. The project included reducing the use of once-through cooling water, installing an upgraded closed-loop cooling system and fitting cooling water distribution pumps with variable frequency drives. The project has saved approximately 0.7 billion gallons of water over the past two years.
Our site in Campinas, Brazil, is upgrading its on-site industrial wastewater treatment plant. The project will provide for reuse of at least 15,850 gallons per day of treated effluent as make-up water in the site’s cooling towers. This corresponds to a site water savings of approximately 5.8 million gallons per year. This will help ensure sufficient future site water supply in a region that has recently experienced drought conditions.