Water utilization and Water management

In glass-making, water is used for cooling, and most of our plants operate with closed loop systems and so only require top up. Water is also used for washing glass in plants but there the need is for very high purity, so water is treated and then re-circulated. We seek to minimize our water consumption by working with suppliers to recycle water and to install advanced water treatment facilities. Processes are managed by Manufacturing Excellence's standardisation procedures (eg turn off washer sprays when not needed, use optimal sized nozzles, install water catchers, implement controls to prevent overflows and maintain to prevent leaks, etc). This not only reduces the withdrawal of water itself but also the chemicals used in the treatment of the water. Across the Group, water consumption can vary considerably according to process and product demands as well as water quality. Approximately 2.6m³ are required to manufacture one tonne of float glass and approximately 0.12 cubic meters are required to process each square meter of automotive product.

We withdrew a total of 15.9 million cubic meters of water in 2020. This represents an 8% reduction on the previous year but is partly due to reduced production output.

Please refer to the "NSG Group Water Policy".

■ NSG Group total water withdrawal 2015-2020
■ NSG Group Water withdrawal by source 2020
Please refer to the data.

Water risks

We do not have any current stakeholder concerns regarding water scarcity or waste water quality. On the other extreme of water risks, flood planning and prevention strategies have been applied where indicated. Water risks do not register as significant in the NSG Group risk assessment process, however, we will continue to risk assess all facilities. The NSG Group Sustainability Committee is the global forum of the senior management to review the risk and performance and to discuss related activities on water management.

The NSG Group has implemented a new Water Policy to ensure a clear statement of NSG Group's approach to water stewardship and in order to address water quality challenges and the risks of water scarcity in support of the Group Sustainability and Environmental Policies.

In 2019 the NSG Group implemented a new and more sophisticated Environmental Reporting and Analysis database. All sites are reporting their specific information and water data into this central database for further aggregation, analysis and monitoring on corporate and site level. Our 2020 data reporting and reviews highlights that 9 NSG sites are located in water stressed areas in accordance with the global Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas. The water withdrawal at those sites represents 20% of the total. Those sites are subject to prioritized water management reviews and improvement activities.

Water stress map - source: Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas

Water saving Projects

Amongst other good water saving projects, the water project at the Float Glass plant of VFG, Vietnam won the internal Environmental Award 2020. This project reduces the consumption of heated water for the washing of the float glass by interrupting the water spray during the gaps between glass sheets on the line.

The project team has developed and installed the necessary machinery control equipment on their own. This project lead to a reduction on water consumption by 24%.

VFG Award application

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