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GE's ambitious water plans

Posted by: Diane Brady on May 28, 2008

Normally, I’m skeptical of green initiatives by companies—whether it’s a carbon offset or an expensive new earth-friendly product. But one thing that intuitively makes sense is a push to reduce the consumption of precious resources like water.

General Electric Co. just announced an ambitious plan to cut its water use by 20% in the next four years. This being GE, that adds up to a hefty annual reduction in the use of fresh water (7.4 million cubic meters, 2 billion U.S. gallons or enough to fill more than 3,000 Olympic-sized pools, by the company’s estimates).

The pledge comes in tandem with the release of a new white paper for policy makers.

Of course, GE isn’t the only company to be doing work in this area. PepsiCo has made a big push, too, as have many others. New technologies and smarter business processes make it much easier these days to reduce water in the production process.

The real stress comes when you ask individuals to do it. What if GE executives stopped handing out bottled water at meetings (making everyone grab filtered stuff from the tap), emphasized locally-sourced vegetarian meals in corporate dining (adopting the philosophy of my colleague Michelle’s husband, a.k.a. No Impact Man) and did away with the swimming pools they rarely have time to use? How much water would they save from doing that?

Reader Comments

Vaibhav Satpute

May 29, 2008 6:22 AM

Better way to protect our planet from the scarcity of water is to Conserve Water. This can be done in a the most cost-effective and environmentally sound way to reduce our demand for water.
Using less water also puts less pressure on the facilities meant for Purification of water and Sewarage.
Thus conserving water will also conserve electricity.
Conserve Water and Save Energy

Vaibhav Satpute, India

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