GM Earns Global Leadership in Water Conservation

Oct 24, 2017 11:35 AM ET
Blog

Managing company water in a sustainable way can drive both business and community value. CDP, a nonprofit global environmental disclosure platform, listed GM on its Water A-List for effective water management practices implemented around the world.

CDP develops the ranking at the request of 827 investors with assets over $100 trillion. Hundreds of companies submit their information for assessment and scoring, with 10 percent making it on the A list.

Beyond the environmental benefits, GM sees the following drivers behind industrial water conservation.

1. Reduced risk and increased cost savings and efficiency

CDP Executive Chair Paul Dickinson says 43 percent of companies say they are facing water risks that could disrupt their business. “Because of this, companies are stepping up for a water secure world,” he said.

These actions save money and increase efficiency. GM’s alternative source of water at its Detroit-Hamtramck facility in Michigan saved $2 million in 2016. GM uses high-efficiency reverse osmosis in vehicle paint shops that reduce reject water by 40 percent compared to typical reverse osmosis processes.

2. Continual improvement through establishing global goals

GM is working toward reducing water intensity by 15 percent by 2020 over a 2010 baseline. This is on top of a 32 percent water reduction per-vehicle-produced between 2005 and 2010.

3. Community stewardship

At GM’s assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri, the foundation drainage previously pumped and discharged through the site’s stormwater system is now used in processes that offset city water requirements. That facility saves 22 million gallons per year of city water as a result.

At vehicle and transmission facilities in water-starved San Luis Potosi, Mexico, a zero-liquid-discharge capability means all water gets reused throughout manufacturing processes. GM teams also treat water in a contained wetland at an engine plant in Joinville, Brazil to use in facility processes, reducing water tapped from local aquifers.

Visit GM’s sustainability report for more information on how the company manages its water consumption.