So far, the Industry Champions profile series has featured two individuals who have committed time, energy, and knowledge to improving the mechanical trades. For this iteration of the series, the decision was made to focus on a specific company that has completed a surplus of advocacy-based initiatives back to the community.
In fact, Xylem Water Solutions and Water Technology was recently named a Net Zero Carbon champion at the 2022 Global Water Awards for its work in water decarbonization. “Xylem is a leading water technology company committed to solving water by creating innovative and smart technology solutions to meet the world’s water, wastewater, and energy needs,” explains Tim Main, national sales manager of wholesale products at Xylem. The company, alongside its partners, was recognized for deploying solutions that optimized energy consumption across water networks and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Xylem has a portfolio of brands that are sold in more than 150 countries. Within the company’s umbrella is its Watermark corporate social responsibility program, which was founded in 2008. They work with non-profit partners on sustainable development projects. “It is a twofold mission—provide and protect safe water resources for communities in need, and educate people about water issues,” explains Main.
Through the program, they have worked towards bringing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene education to schools and communities in emerging markets. In 2021, employees at the company logged more than 113,000 volunteer hours in activities to provide and protect safe water resources and education. “The water sector is uniquely positioned to make a meaningful contribution to containing climate change,” explains Austin Alexander, vice president of sustainability and social impact at Xylem. “We could become one of the fastest sectors to decarbonize.” In the past year, Xylem has formalized its commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions before 2050.
Collaboration with Manchester City
One of the latest initiatives that Xylem has embarked on is a partnership with Manchester City, a professional soccer club in England. In 2018, the club announced a global multi-year partnership with Xylem to become the club’s official water technology partner. They will also partner with Manchester City’s sister club, New York City FC, and the Manchester City women’s team.
Through this partnership, Xylem will work with the club on Xylem Watermark projects, such as building water towers in communities around the world. “We are delighted to announce this new partnership with Xylem,” said Damian Willoughby, senior vice president of partnership at City Football Group (CFG), in a press release. “Manchester City and Xylem share a common commitment to operating in a sustainable and innovative way, whilst enhancing the lives of people in our communities around the world. We are excited to harness the global appeal of football to raise awareness of water challenges and support Xylem’s efforts to tackle these issues.”
Recently, Xylem and CFG announced the renewal of its multi-year global partnership, which aims to accelerate action on critical water challenges by driving a further 100 million people to participate in water-related initiatives in their communities. “Over the last four years, we have successfully combined our place in the world of football with Xylem’s expertise in water education to impact a huge number of people globally,” said Roel de Vries, COO for CFG.
Solving water together
In 2020, Xylem joined forces with Americares, a health-focused relief and development organization, to bring water security and sanitation to impoverished communities. Since then, over 3.5 million people now have clean water and sanitation services. Last year, their goal was to reach another one million people through its WASH interventions.
An example of intervention was done in Namanolo, Malawi, where thieves had stolen and vandalized a water pump that was powering a health clinic’s borehole. The pump was replaced, and a secure pump house was even built. Handwashing stations were installed in the community as a way to help raise awareness about the importance of hand hygiene. To date, nearly 500 similar hand-washing stations have been installed in schools and marketplaces across nine countries—from Pakistan to Colombia.
“Washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective measures in the fight against COVID-19. Through our partnership with Americares we aim to bring this message to life for communities around the world and to empower them through improved access to clean water and sanitation,” said Alexander. “We have a unique responsibility and opportunity to make water security a reality for the world’s most impoverished communities, and we’re united with Americares in this pursuit.”
This year, Xylem held a Walk for Water campaign from April 22 until May 5, which encouraged participants to walk and raise awareness for the millions of people that don’t have access to safe drinking water. The campaign had 179,676 thousand participants with a goal to log six km of activity in two weeks. To date, the campaign has logged a total of 133,517 km.
2021 Sustainability Report
Each year, Xylem produces a sustainability report, which highlights the work completed in the last year related to its advocacy work. Key milestones that were acknowledged in the report included Xylem’s role in preventing polluted water from flooding communities and how they have helped customers reuse more than one billion cubic meters of water in 2021. “We have a responsibility to make a difference, working alongside our customers and partners and the communities we all serve,” explains Patrick Decker, president and CEO of Xylem. “That’s why our sustainability report is more than a set of numbers. Instead, it’s a report card on the impact we’re making together and a dashboard of progress in our mission to solve water.”
Xylem is on pace to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. In addition, more than half of its major facilities are operating on 100 per cent renewable energy.
A new program that Xylem has been working on is its Innovative Labs. It will establish a framework for start-ups and Xylem to work together on ways to bring new technologies to the water and wastewater markets, explains Dr. Christine Boyle, founder of Valor Water Analytics and vice president of product development at Xylem.
The program targets early and late-stage start-ups and provides them access to the Innovation Labs team of entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists, and project managers, who are all committed to working with founders to prepare them to scale up their businesses.