Ecolab’s Environmental Performance

Ecolab’s Environmental Performance

Ecolab promotes the stewardship of natural resources and environmental protection

Multimedia from this Release

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 5:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Sustainability Reporting


As individual companies prior to our merger, both Ecolab and Nalco had committed to improving operations and reducing environmental impacts by establishing key environmental metrics. We merged our companies December 1, 2011, and as we complete the integration of the companies in 2012, we will establish new goals for our combined company. As part of that process, we are recapping progress as separate companies through 2011, as a final report on our prior targets.

Greenhouse Gases

Ecolab pledged to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 20 percent per dollar of sales by the end of 2012 (from a 2006 baseline). At the close of 2011, we achieved a 19 percent reduction, attaining 95 percent of the goal within 83 percent of the established time frame. In 2009, Ecolab expanded reporting to global GHG emissions and since that time our absolute emissions have dropped 4 percent.

The Carbon Disclosure Project acknowledged these efforts by recognizing Ecolab as one of only 11 companies named to the 2011 Carbon Performance Leadership Index.


In 2007, Nalco set a target of reducing its total energy use globally by 10 percent by the end of 2012. Numerous projects over the past four years allowed us to cut energy use by 8.4 percent by the end of last year, achieving 84 percent of our goal within 80 percent of the established time frame. Our overall energy efficiency improved even more: a 21.1 percent decrease in energy per metric ton of product.

Water, Wastewater and Waste

In 2009, Ecolab set ambitious goals to reduce its global water consumption, disposed waste and wastewater from its manufacturing operations by 18 percent per metric ton of product shipped by 2015. Waste reduction progress was very strong, exceeding that goal by achieving a 19.8 percent drop within two years. However, our water and wastewater performance was not as strong, as both increased due to our higher production levels.

Taking Action for Improvement

While we made good progress on many of our previous goals, we realize environmental improvements are never “done” but require ongoing planning and attention. Many actions taken in 2011 will continue to reap rewards in the future and new efforts are being implemented to build on that success.

Last year more than 24 energy reduction projects were completed at 10 different locations. These projects, including higher efficiency boilers, air dryers, HVAC units and improved lighting and insulation, will result in an estimated annual energy savings of more than 36 million kilowatt hours.

Since 2006, the 7,000-vehicle Ecolab U.S. fleet has reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 22 percent, normalized to sales. Moving to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles cut fuel consumption 8 percent, despite an increase in number of vehicles and total miles driven.

Numerous water reduction projects were identified in 2011. Process and equipment changes at our Joliet, Ill., plant will cut annual water use by 24 million gallons. Our Texarkana, Texas, plant developed an innovative process to collect rain water and use it in its air cleaning system, reducing freshwater use. The Martinsburg, W. Va., plant implemented a process change to capture and reuse material from washing lines in the next production batch, reducing water usage by 2 million gallons per year and decreasing wastewater production.

Additional information on our performance can be found in the Detailed Appendix to this report available at