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Water

Effective water stewardship is a key priority, especially in locations where water is scarce or where it is predicted to become scarce in the future. Our water strategy considers short-, medium- and long-term scenarios to further develop our understanding of our water cycle and identify areas in which we can improve and mitigate water risks at our facilities. We want to develop a more circular approach to water use and are constantly looking for ways we can reuse the water we withdraw.

Water: Progress towards our target

Reduce our water withdrawal intensity (m3/tcarbon black) by 50% versus FY2013 baseline at our high- and medium-risk sites.

Assessing our water vulnerability

We partnered with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) to assess the water stress level at each of our manufacturing sites using the WRI’s Aqueduct™ tool. For our plants based in India, we complemented the assessment using the specific India Water Tool. This approach provided us with an informative, high-level and generic assessment for all our sites.

Using the results of our assessments, we have determined which sites are at a medium or high risk for water availability to include in our Water Withdrawal KPI1.

Governance

Our water risk management approach

Our Water Stewardship Policy (PDF, 0.5 MB) sets out the commitments we are making to protect and conserve water resources through management practices and governance systems.

Our water risk management approach is inspired by a six-step methodology advocated by the European Water Stewardship Standard (PDF, 0.5 MB), the Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard and the ABG Technical Standard (Water Management):

  1. Commitment

    Our recognition that risks must be assessed.

    Water Stewardship Policy PDF, 0.5 MB

  2. Water inventory

    Our experts collate site-specific water balance data, an inventory of water challenges, and an understanding of water conveyance and treatment systems.

  3. Water risk assessment

    We carry out a generic water risk assessment, coupled with a detailed local source vulnerability assessment.

  4. Water risk mitigation plans (WRMPs)

    We develop the plans required for both internal and external mitigation.

  5. Implement and monitor WRMPs

    We deploy the plans, including internal actions and external engagement, tracking progress.

  6. Communicate performance

    We report on our progress, both internally and externally.

We have recently integrated our water risk management approach into our wider Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) strategy, while high-risk sites are now incorporating WRMPs into their Business Continuity Plans. These mitigation plans identify both existing and additional strategies for managing critical water risks. New mitigation measures are actioned with deadlines set for completion, while existing risk and mitigation strategies are reviewed at least annually through our ERM process.

Water cycle at Birla Carbon sites

We try to limit our use of potable water, looking for ways to increase circularity by recycling and reusing it where feasible. Once water has been used in the manufacturing process, it is directed into retention ponds from where it will be redirected back into other processes. Our water conservation best practices are shared across all our locations as part of our Sustainable Operational Excellence (SOE) strategy.

Our water cycle

The water cycle at Birla Carbon sites

Select which water source

Birla Carbon manufacturing sties and offices
  • Harvesting rainwater
  • Surface water
  • Municipality
  • Groundwater well
  • Retention pond
  • Evaporation of waste water

† Approximately 3,459,000 m3 (18%) reused from retention ponds in FY2020. Recycled process water and rainwater is collected in retention ponds and pumped back into the process.

Water withdrawal by source

FY2020 Total: 16,554,087 m3

  • Surface water: 44%
  • Groundwater well: 30%
  • Municipality: 26%

Water discharge by destination

FY2020 Total: 6,422,203 m3

  • On-site retention pond: 41%
  • Surface water: 47%
  • Municipal wastewater treatment process (WTTP) : 10%
  • Sanitary: 2%

Maximizing resource reuse through creative solutions

We are constantly exploring, and investing in, the best available technology to reduce our environmental impacts, looking for smart solutions that will deliver multiple benefits. The water we require for carbon black manufacturing is primarily used for cooling the gas stream that is produced during our manufacturing process. Reducing the need for this is key to reducing our water consumption.

How we are supporting the SDGs

SDG 3

Good health and well-being

We seek to prevent illnesses indirectly by reducing water pollution and to minimize our impact on water scarcity through assessing water vulnerability in the areas where we operate.

SDG 6

Clean water and sanitation

We monitor our water use, and recycle and reuse as much as possible to limit the stress on potable water sources and to increase the circularity of our production facilities.

SDG 17

Partnerships for the goals

We look to other organizations to influence our water risk management approach and to increase our knowledge of best practice.

  1. Sites comprised Hickok, Cubatão, Gummidipoondi, Alexandria, Weifang and Bahia.
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