As the world grapples with COVID-19 and the corresponding travel restrictions/ social distancing, digital water management, food safety and hygiene services have never been more relevant. Getting clean water, safe food, and healthy environments is of utmost importance. During the various phases of lockdown, several industries were and still are facing a shortage of onsite staff. Ecolab has ensured uninterrupted services to its customers in India and globally. Through their IoT solutions and remote monitoring center (System Assurance Centre), manned by qualified engineers 24 x 7, Ecolab continues to serve its customers uninterrupted to deliver water savings, reduced costs, and extended asset life. In an exclusive interaction with the Financial Express Online Geetha Srinivasa, MD and Country Head, Ecolab India talked about world-class food and water safety technologies and innovations that help organizations manage food and water safety risks and solve food and water sanitation needs and more. Excerpts:
What is the scenario of the water treatment and conservation business in India?
While there are growing instances of innovative practices that are leading to more efficient use of water, the current situation calls for a stronger and stringent multi-stakeholder action nationwide.
Some companies have started integrating water risk into their corporate strategies, which is an excellent step. Yet, awareness is low, and a lot needs to be done to effectively implement smart water management and water conservation best practices. At the same time, we are optimistic as we see continued growth in our water treatment business, clearly signifying an increased interest in and commitment to water management solutions.
Do you think industries should be mandated to responsive corporate water policies and programs to tackle or overcome the global water crisis?
A decade from now, we will need 56% more fresh water, according to the World Resources Institute. Where will we get this from? If we don’t raise awareness and implement water management programs, we will continue the trajectory toward a global water crisis. To help build a water resilient future and drive collective action across the world’s largest companies, Ecolab joined forces with the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate to co-found the Water Resilience Coalition. Members of the Coalition have pledged to make the needed investments in their own operations, as well as work together through collective action, to achieve net positive water impact by 2050, support a water resilient value chain and raise the ambition of water resilience through public and corporate outreach.
In India, industry bodies like FICCI and CII, through initiatives like the FICCI Water Mission and CII Water Innovation Summit, are doing their part to raise awareness and find collective solutions for businesses.
As to policy and regulation, the government can play a role by ensuring optimal pricing of water, implementing incentives for conservation, and providing water and wastewater infrastructure. Policies that reward the use of treated wastewater or optimal freshwater usage through measures like tax exemptions and CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) green certifications can encourage industry to take efficient water management more seriously.
How is Ecolab India working towards providing and protecting what is vital, clean water, and a healthy environment?
Ecolab is a global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services. As a trusted partner at nearly 3 million customer locations worldwide, Ecolab delivers comprehensive solutions, data-driven insights, and personalized service to advance food safety, maintain clean and safe environments, optimize water and energy use, and improve operational efficiencies and sustainability for customers in the food, healthcare, hospitality, and industrial markets in more than 170 countries.
The last decade has seen Ecolab India undertake a transformational journey, expanding our footprint through continuous innovation. With more than 600+ associates, two manufacturing facilities in Pune and Kolkata, a global Research, Development and Engineering (RD&E) Center, and a global System Assurance Center (SAC), Ecolab India serves 731 customers in over 1,300 customer locations across the country.
What are the key accomplishments of Ecolab India in its journey of becoming a global leader in food safety, and water stewardship?
Ecolab India is a strategic market for our global operations. With sustainability having gained credence over the years in India, and infection prevention and hygiene becoming even more important as we address the COVID-19 pandemic and other emerging pathogens, India will be a growth engine for Ecolab at the global level. Food safety continues to remain an important priority in India and around the world. In 2020 alone, Ecolab helped customers safely feed 1.3 billion people. By 2030, Ecolab aims to help customers provide high quality and safe food for 1.8 billion people and prevent 11 million foodborne illnesses annually.
India is an important talent destination. We manage and operate the System Assurance Center from Pune. This is the nerve center where our engineers remotely monitor and help solve customer challenges and increase efficiency across 40,000 customer sites globally.
How is Ecolab helping its customers adopt technologies to reduce, reuse and recycle water? Briefly justify it with 2 or 3 industry cases.
We support industrial customers in reducing their water footprint through effective water management with a clear focus on sustainability goals, be it getting to a water positive state, or achieving water neutrality. Nalco Water, an Ecolab company, is a leader in water treatment and process improvements, helping our customers reduce, recycle and reuse water.
Through our System Assurance Center and our on-the-ground expertise, we are helping customers in India and around the world drive smarter water management. Ecolab worked closely with the largest vaccine manufacturer in India on the 24/7 remote monitoring of their HVAC and water management systems, to uphold uncompromised standards of vaccine manufacturing. The benefits of Ecolab’s technology and solutions, along with constant surveillance and regular performance reports resulted in an efficient and accelerated vaccine manufacturing process along with energy savings of USD 50,000 between 2019 and 2021. Ecolab India also helped Tata Steel increase annual revenue by USD 500,000 and reduce water consumption by 30% over three years by adopting best-in-class technologies.
To help our customers reduce their water use, we use a wide range of IoT, and AI based technologies, including 3D TRASAR™ technology, a digital solution that helps uncover water savings opportunities with industry-leading expertise, asset performance insights, and leak and flow analysis, gathering real-time insights that are actionable.
In addition to our solutions, Ecolab launched an enhanced version of its Smart Water Navigator (smartwaternavigator.com), a free online tool that helps businesses who are just beginning to identify baseline water use, as well as those who are ready to track year-over-year performance. New features include benchmarking across a portfolio of facilities and the ability to identify water withdrawal targets and risks and evaluate performance over time.
How is Ecolab contributing towards achieving the sustainable development goals in India?
Ecolab has always operated where sustainability and economic benefits align, helping our customers Do More with Less. Our vision is to save 1.13 trillion litres of water by 2030 globally. So far, we have saved about 793 billion litres of water and given the pace of our work, we are confident about achieving this milestone. Ecolab embarked on a partnership with Water.org to equip 100,000 people living below poverty line with clean water and sustainable sanitation facilities. We continue to provide water management and sustainability support for our customers across the hospitality, healthcare, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, chemical and mining sectors among others.
In water stewardship, for instance, we do everything from cleaning the source of water to wastewater treatment to any production process water touches along the way, be it a boiler or a cooling tower. Our philosophy essentially is to focus on reducing water consumption before we start thinking about recycling water.
So, the mandate is how do we take this message to customers to accelerate water sustainability, global food safety standards by leveraging our robust business model, global customer service, technology, and superior R&D.