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Water

We are limiting our impact on water – globally and locally.

Water is an important part of our environmental impact. Today, water security is one of the most serious and fastest-growing environmental challenges facing our world. Demand for water is increasing and analysis suggests that by 2030 the world will face a 40% gap between what we need and what is available.

Water issues are therefore a global challenge, but because we operate in water-scarce countries, it is important for us to consider the implications on a local level too. Looking specifically at our business, there are two main challenges we need to address: water contamination and water scarcity.

To understand these challenges better, we conducted a water impact study of the lifecycle of a representative selection of our key products.

To understand these challenges better, we conducted a water impact study of the lifecycle of a representative selection of our key products in 2013.

The results of this study have helped us define the focus areas for our water strategy and strengthen our existing commitments. For example, we learned just how much of our water footprint comes from customers using our products - and how much higher the impact of this is in water-scarce countries like India. Because of this, we are looking at how we can engage our customers around more sustainable water use.

Life cycle freshwater withdrawal of shampoo


The results of this study have helped us define the focus areas for our water strategy and strengthen our existing commitments. For example, we learned just how much of our water footprint comes from customers using our products - and how much higher the impact of this is in water-scarce countries like India. Because of this, we are looking at how we can engage our customers around more sustainable water use.


We know that the water impact from our manufacturing sites is a limited part of the life cycle impact, however, for local communities this impact may be important. Therefore we have looked at the exact locations of our manufacturing sites and we conducted a first analysis of the risks and impacts of the different locations. By 2020 we are committed to reduce water use at all our sites by 15%.

Another important focus area raised by the study is the biodegradability of our ingredients. Many rinse off products end up in the water system – in particular, products like shower gel and shampoo. We have already committed to using only biodegradable cleansing ingredients in our personal care products and the findings of our study are helping us prioritise how to strengthen this commitment further. In 2017 we launched the new Love Nature range that has a biodegradable formula for all rinse of products in the range. We carried out independent testing on each rinse off product and all passed the OECD testing protocol for biodegradability. Additionally, to further strengthen our approach to water stewardship the formulations contain natural extracts and natural origin scrub particles.