Water Use & Management
Although EMC has a relatively modest water footprint throughout our operations, we take a conscientious approach to conserving this important global resource today and for future generations. We are guided by our focus on minimizing water consumption and managing wastewater in our owned and operated facilities to help protect local water quality. Our owned global manufacturing facilities produce no industrial wastewater. Our greatest potential water impact, however, is directly tied to energy efficiency. By creating more efficient products, we reduce the need for water to cool them and decrease the quantities of water demanded for generating electricity. To learn more, visit Product Stewardship and Efficiency.
Water Risk Assessment
EMC has conducted water risk assessments to evaluate the physical, regulatory and other risks related to water occurring now, or possibly impacting our business in the future. Water is integrated into a comprehensive corporate risk assessment process incorporating both direct operations and supply chain. A sustainability overlay has been created detailing how water and other sustainability issues impact the likelihood and magnitude of strategic, financial, operational, and reputational risk. Risk registers are created to itemize specific risks for roll-up into the corporate view. To learn more about EMC’s corporate risk assessment process, visit Risk Management.
As part of our assessment, we used the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Water Tool and the WRI Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas Tool to identify physical, regulatory, and reputational water risks at both the country and river basin level. To learn more, visit EMC 2014 CDP Water Disclosure Response.
Water is also an element of the risk assessment we conduct for our supply chain, which combines an internally-developed risk assessment with Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) tools. We work directly with our suppliers to evaluate risk factors and associated controls. To learn more, visit Supply Chain.
Water Conservation Efforts
EMC's approach includes the use of various water efficiency and conservation features in our facilities worldwide, such as low-flow plumbing fixtures, rainwater capture systems, and free air cooling. We also consider water conservation and efficiency elements when designing and constructing new facilities. In 2014, our Global Energy & Water Management Steering Committee helped to focus regional efforts on water consumption and to expand water conservation programs across the globe. To learn more about the committee, visit Efficient Facilities.
Water is integral to the cooling of our data centers and accordingly, our focus on reducing energy consumption has resulted in reduced water use. We are initiating a program to measure our Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE) as defined by The Green Grid and are planning to begin implementation of these assessment regimes during 2015.
At our headquarters in Hopkinton, Massachusetts and our Bangalore, India Center of Excellence (COE), wastewater is reclaimed at the onsite treatment plants, which filter wastewater through treatment and disinfection processes, resulting in treated “gray” water. In 2014, we reused more than 17,710 cubic meters of gray water for cooling, sanitation, and irrigation at the Hopkinton facility, and 40,690 cubic meters at the Bangalore COE facility. Unused gray water is returned to the ground through infiltration systems to replenish local watersheds.
At EMC’s Massachusetts campus facilities, which account for more than 30 percent of our corporate physical footprint, we have implemented a stringent Stormwater Management System to help protect and maintain the integrity of the surrounding resources. At these facilities, we have also implemented an Integrated Pest Management program to minimize and eliminate the use of chemical herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides where possible. Through diligent management efforts, we ensure a high quality of storm water runoff from our facilities. This minimizes the impact of our operations on natural resources, including groundwater and surface water, and helps ensure that these resources are protected in the future.
EMC’s owned manufacturing process is not water intensive, and produces no industrial wastewater. In EMC’s operations, water is consumed through normal building systems use such as for cooling, drinking and other sanitary purposes. Since 2007, we have tracked water consumption data for all of our owned facilities and most of the larger facilities that we lease. We use WBCSD’s Global Water Tool to analyze our operations and calculate our water footprint in water-stressed areas.
Our estimated total 2014 global water withdrawal was 1,247,009 cubic meters. Seventy-five percent of the water withdrawal data were compiled from reliable water bills and water meter readings. The remaining annual corporate water consumption was estimated using a water intensity factor calculated by benchmarking consumption at metered EMC facilities.
Energy – Water Nexus
We recognize that water, energy, and carbon emissions are interconnected. Water is required to generate and transmit the energy EMC consumes, and energy is used to supply the water we use. Our suppliers also use water in their operations to produce the material components in our products. Thoughtful water conservation and efficiency practices help save energy and reduce the carbon emissions generated from these activities.
We also understand that there can be trade-offs between water and carbon emissions. Water and energy are needed to power and cool our own offices and data centers, as well as those of our customers, and our wastewater treatment plant consumes energy, while reducing our water footprint.
We take a systematic view of energy and water use and the resulting carbon emissions, and focus on driving efficiencies in our products and operations. For example, applying free air cooling technology has allowed us to reduce the amount of energy and water consumed in our data centers and labs.