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Supply Chain
World Water Day:
Three Things to Remember Regarding Your Supply Chain

This World Water Day, businesses worldwide are challenged with making a change — to not only monitor and aim to reduce water use; but on a greater scale, to impact their overall environmental footprint and reach larger goals toward sustainability and a circular economy.

March 22 marks World Water Day — a day to raise awareness about water’s impact on the planet’s ecosystems and celebrate the importance of sustainable management of freshwater resources. This year, World Water Day is highlighting the inextricable link between water and climate change.

According to the UN-Water Policy Brief on Climate Change and Water, climate change increases unpredictability in the water cycle and induces extreme weather events, ultimately reducing the certainty of water availability and negatively impacting its overall quality. This, in turn, threatens the biodiversity and sustainable development of our entire planet.

To meet the ever-growing demand of consumers who are proactively changing their water consumption habits, the need for energy-intensive water-pumping transportation also increases. To make a significant impact and massive shift towards responsible and sustainable water usage, businesses must lead the charge — they are responsible for taking a closer look at their conservation efforts.

Embedding sustainable products in the supply chain is a gateway to reducing your business’s water usage and making a consciously significant impact on the environment. Here are three things to remember for your business’s shift towards building a regenerative value chain and reaching your sustainability goals.

1. Consider recycled fiber

For businesses, the switch to using a sustainable source of recycled content can make a significant impact on the health of our planet. The US Environmental Protection Agency reports that every ton of paper recycled saves 7,000 gallons of water — recycled paper and packaging can be the gateway to sustainability for businesses. Sustana Fiber’s EnviroLife® recycled fiber, for example, requires nine times less water to produce than non-recycled pulp; it’s also vital to look for the right supply chain partners to really help your business move the needle.

Companies can also incorporate water-reuse processes into production to lower environmental impact. Additionally, actively working to reduce chemical use and dissemination into the environment can aid in conservation efforts and work to increase resource efficiency. By implementing clean, environmentally sound technologies and efficient machinery, companies can minimize water usage in their manufacturing.

2. Collaborate with a partner, not just a supplier

As you’re identifying suppliers to help meet your company’s sustainability goals, look for those that carefully measure the environmental impact of their businesses, transparently sharing their results. For example, in addition to Sustana Group’s overarching Sustainability Strategy, we conducted a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) through a third party to measure the environmental impact of our EnviroLife® fiber, throughout the entire journey.

Working with fibers such as Sustana can limit a company’s impact on climate change by 26 percent, compared to the average non-recycled fiber. 

Another great example of businesses initiating collaborative efforts is Starbucks, with its commitment to increase recycled content in its cups by 2022. Sustana was a supply chain partner in The Cup to Cup: Closing the Loop proof-of-concept project, helping Starbucks demonstrate that paper coffee cups can be recycled and turned into new cups containing recycled content in a sustainable way.

3. Use manufacturers that embrace a circular economy

In January, a global investor coalition representing more than $11.4 trillion of assets urged six of the world’s largest fast food companies to take faster and deeper action to manage climate and water risks in their supply chains. Simple changes to brands’ supply chains are another step on the road to reducing water use and greater sustainable efforts.

Limiting water impact is now inevitably an expectation of businesses worldwide. Unilever, for example, has also made substantial efforts to decrease water consumption within its manufacturing processes including: introducing over 68 zero liquid discharge sites where wastewater is treated and then reused on site — meaning virtually no water is discharged to the environment, integrating water-efficiency features into the core design of each new facility or factory upgrade and recycling their used water.

Sustana also worked to reduce freshwater consumption at the plant by just under eight percent per ton of fiber recycled; in addition, by-products are recovered in the manufacturing process to be used in producing new products.

This World Water Day, businesses worldwide are challenged with making a change — to not only monitor and aim to reduce water use; but on a greater scale, to impact their overall environmental footprint and reach larger goals toward sustainability and a circular economy.

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