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 standardization 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 16.0 million cubic meters of water in 2021. This a similar quantity as in 2020; higher glass production outputs have been compensated by an improved water utilization efficiency.
Please refer to the "NSG Group Water Policy".
■ NSG Group total water withdrawal 2015-2021
■ NSG Group Water withdrawal by source 2021
Please refer to the data
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 2021 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 3% of the total in 2021. 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 San Salvo plant in Italy is extremely successful. The San Salvo plant is located in a potentially water stressed area at the east cost in southern Italy. Most of the utilized water for equipment cooling, glass washing and steam generation comes from a nearby river - with potential water scarcity in hot summer periods.
The recent improvement project had 3 steps: Better water utilization, reuse optimization and the use of rain water. All 3 steps lead to an overall reduction of water extraction from the river by 82% (~1 Mm³ per year) in 2021 versus the project baseline of 2019. The saved water from the river is now used by the local water supplier to produce drinking water for the local Community.