Corporate Water Use and Stewardship in the Era of Climate Change
By Claire McCarthy | Global Director Sustainability, Security & Safety
Water is a limited and valuable natural resource that is threatened by global climate change, the effects of which are already apparent. For example, many areas of the United States have seen less annual rainfall over the last 50 years. Around the world, water scarcity already affects one in three people, and less than 1% of the earth’s water is safe for consumption. In addition, according to the EPA, continued climate change is likely to lead to an increase in water demand while at the same time shrinking water supplies, particularly in areas where populations are growing. Even in areas that are not at such a high risk for water shortages, an increase in flooding or a rise in sea level is expected, which in turn impacts the quality of available water and severely damages infrastructure used for the delivery of consumable water.
These impacts on water supply directly affect agriculture, energy production, environmental ecosystems, and, of course, human health. But it also goes beyond those impacts and can affect business operations across industries, which can take an additional community and economic toll. As such, Keysight actively works towards water conservation and reducing our exposure to water-related risks.
Keysight’s Dedication to Wise Water Use and Stewardship
Though Keysight, as a software and solutions-based company, isn’t a significant user of water and has minimal risk to business operations from water-related issues, we believe it is important for all companies to help enable a sustainable future and we do our part accordingly. Along with multiple environmental programs that support mitigating the effects of climate change, Keysight utilizes a strategic approach to our water stewardship through water usage, treatment, and conservation efforts.
- Our water usage
Keysight manufacturing facilities use water for direct operational processes in wafer fab and micro part processing, and in indirect operations primarily for consumption (e.g., drinking water, restrooms, and cafeterias) and chiller systems. Most of the water used by Keysight is withdrawn from third party sources, such as municipal supply, with a small percentage withdrawn from well water. Regardless, all water discharged by Keysight is managed and treated by municipal wastewater treatment systems and meets discharge requirements.
- Our water treatment
Keysight uses onsite wastewater treatment plants at three of our manufacturing sites. An example of the treatment is a pH adjustment to within 5.5-12.5 before discharging to the municipality. Treated water is reused, where viable, for landscape irrigation and in specific process systems, such as wet scrubbers.
- Our water conservation
We feel strongly about the conservation of water. In 2015, as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) vision, we set a five-year water conservation key impact goal. We are pleased to report that, after surpassing the original 10% water conservation goal in fiscal year 2017, continued benefits from implemented actions enabled the company to end fiscal year 2020 with 18.9% water conservation per 2015 baseline.
Responding to Adverse Environmental Impacts
Just as important as implementing these efforts is the need to regularly assess and report on their results. To support continuous improvement, part of Keysight’s DNA as a measurement company, we report annually on our water consumption and conservation efforts. In addition, we regularly assess for water-related risks that could impact our business, using the World Resources Institute (WRI) Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas to review water stress in areas where we operate. These efforts help ensure we are addressing consequential water-related matters, not only for our operations but also the communities in which we operate.
Water Stewardship is the Responsibility of Every Company
As members of communities around the world, corporations have a role to play in preserving natural resources, and that includes water stewardship. All companies need to be cognizant of their water use and impact in a way that is environmentally sustainable, socially equitable and economically beneficial.