Water

We are working to reduce the water impact associated with our products.

Performance

In 2014, we cut our operational water use by a further 5%. This 20% reduction from the 2010 baseline means we have met our 2015 target to cut operational water use by 20% a year early. Measuring and reducing our wider water impact across the value chain – not just the amount we use – is more challenging. In 2014, we completed an extensive assessment to identify the activities that have the highest water impact across our value chain and prioritised our efforts

Mapping water impact across the value chain

Water consumption is just one dimension of water impact. Over the last two years we have been working with external experts and NGOs to identify the factors that contribute to our total water impact. These are:

  • Water scarcity – the amount of freshwater available in the basin in relation to demand.
  • Local water quality – the level of pollution in freshwater sources and the threats to biodiversity as a result, including from the release of pharmaceuticals from our operations.
  • Health and social risks – people’s access to clean water and improved sanitation.
  • Regulatory and reputational risks – the level of water governance and regulatory risk related to water.

Combining these indicators with water consumption and data from the WWF Water Risk Filter, we developed a global water impact tool that we have used to identify hotspots across the value chain.

Operational impacts

We use just under 15 million m3 of water per year in our operations – research laboratories, manufacturing sites and offices. We systematically audit our sites to identify opportunities to cut water use. In 2014, we audited four of our highest water use sites in India, Italy and Singapore, three of which are in areas of water scarcity. We have cut water use by an average of 10% at each of these sites by, for example, introducing more water efficient cleaning procedures, identifying and repairing leaks, and investing in efficient equipment.

Our supply chain

Our supply chain uses an estimated 1,200 million m3 of water. Raw materials for Horlicks, carbohydrates (sugars), wood derived products and eggs account for 75% of the water impact. We have partnered with TERI, an NGO in India, to develop a diagnostic water impact tool. In 2014, we used this to identify opportunities for our 10 largest suppliers to reduce water impacts.

Use of our products

We estimate that 13% of GSK’s value chain water impact is from consumer use of our products, in particular people leaving the tap running when cleaning their teeth. In 2014, we extended our “Turn off the Tap” campaign adding the logo and labelling to our Sensodyne toothpaste brand in the UK