World Water Day: the ongoing mission to provide access to clean drinking water

Today (22 March) marks the 25th anniversary of World Water Day, an annual date to encourage action to tackle the global water crisis. For Procter & Gamble (P&G), this means providing clean drinking water to those who need it most, increasing safe sanitation and hygiene behaviours, and reducing water use.

As defined in the UN’s Global Goals, access to safe drinking water is essential to overcoming extreme poverty across the world by 2030. Access to safe drinking water and sanitation not only greatly reduces infant mortality and water-borne diseases, but it is also an enabler for socioeconomic development and global gender equality. 

At P&G, we are committed to playing our part to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. With help from more than 150 global partners, we have committed to delivering 15 billion litres of clean drinking water to those in need by 2020 through the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Programme. In addition, we believe we have an obligation not only to reduce the water we use in the manufacturing phase of our products, but also to help educate consumers about water consumption when they use our products.

P&G is acting to reduce water use:

We overachieved on our 2020 goal to reduce water in our manufacturing plants by 20%, with a 24% reduction as of last year. We conducted formal water risk assessments at all P&G manufacturing sites to identify which ones were in high risk areas. We are now focusing our efforts on efficiency at these sites.

P&G is helping provide drinking water in areas suffering the most from water scarcity:

The P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water (CSDW) Programme is the signature commitment to address the critical need for clean drinking water around the world. For the past 12 years, we have worked with our partners to provide P&G Purifier of Water packets for emergency relief, in the event of natural disasters and in hard-to-reach rural areas where people don’t have access to clean drinking water. Invented by P&G scientists, each 4 gram purification packet treats 10 litres of water by effectively killing bacteria and viruses and removing parasites and solid materials.

In May, 2016, we celebrated reaching our 10 billion litre milestone in conjunction with our global partners and are well on our way to reaching our goal to deliver 15 billion litres by 2020. The importance of the programme was underlined by events later in the year in Haiti. Working with local and international emergency relief partners, we passed 11 billion litres in our efforts to help Haiti recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew.    

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of World Water Day, P&G is releasing two new films that tell the true stories of how clean water has transformed the lives of women and their families in northern Ghana. The videos show how P&G Purifier of Water packets deliver clean drinking water that can improve health and provide economic opportunities to communities.

Allison Tummon Kamphuis is P&G’s P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water (CSDW)

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie