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Sustainable business practices make every drop count
By 2030, the global demand for water is expected to exceed supply by 40%.¹ Conserving water for future generations must be a priority for everyone, including industries, which are responsible for 22% of worldwide water use.² For example, in our large manufacturing facilities, water is critical to control temperature and humidity for our products and to sterilize the equipment needed to produce medical devices. Water is an essential and finite resource. For years, we’ve been conducting in-depth analyses of how water is used at our facilities around the world. In FY22 we reported a 14% reduction in water usage intensity compared to a FY20 baseline toward our FY25 goal of 15%.
–Daniel Sterner, Director, Global Energy and Utility Infrastructure, Medtronic
Sometimes minimizing water waste wherever and whenever we can means making big investments to ensure our facilities are using water as efficiently as possible. At more than 1 million square feet, our facility in North Haven, Connecticut, is one of our largest manufacturing facilities. In 2017, we installed a state-of-the-art system that purifies water by pushing it through a semi-permeable membrane that filters out contaminants. Not only did the new system and a cooling tower upgrade and improve water quality at the facility, but the site is now saving 6.5 million gallons of water per year, or about 13% of total annual usage.
Other times, small changes lead to big savings. In addition to routinely checking for leaks, Medtronic teams continuously look for opportunities to repurpose or stretch existing water supplies. In some of our more arid locations like Tempe, Arizona, we use natural and sustainable practices to manage our green space and reduce our water use. With 90,000 employees around the globe, even switching to low-flow toilets and waterless urinals saves thousands of gallons per year.
Our employees help us recognize opportunities to conserve water. Kevin Asher was inspecting a climate control system in Mounds View, Minnesota, when he noticed a lot of condensation water draining off the roof and into the sewer system. Recognizing the waste, Asher built a novel closed-loop system to capture and recycle the water. His system saves about one million gallons of water a year and is now used at other locations.
Water is becoming more scarce. While our operations are generally not water-intensive, Medtronic recognizes our responsibility to protect the natural resources we share. By working together, we can make a difference, one drop at a time.