From our plants to our partnerships, we strive to do all we can to enhance our sustainability performance and results. This includes ambitious goals for reducing water and energy use.
Our impact through customers is exponentially larger than the savings we achieve at our own facilities. In 2018, we helped our global partners save 188 billion gallons of water, equivalent to the annual drinking water needs of 650 million people. We are on track to meet our goal of saving 300 billion gallons annually—equal to the needs of one billion people—by 2030.
We also helped our customers conserve more than 19 trillion BTUs of energy and avoid 2.4 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.
In our own operations, we reduced water withdrawals on an intensity basis by 1.4 percent from a 2015 baseline toward our goal of a 25 percent intensity-based reduction by 2020. We plan to bring further water-saving projects to completion by the end of 2020 to accelerate our progress.
At our plant in Clearing, Illinois, Ecolab’s largest water user, we installed a top-of-the-line water reclamation system that will reduce the plant’s water use by up to 20 percent when the system is at full capacity (see page 32). Our Garyville, Louisiana, plant has reduced its water intake by 85,000 gallons a day, reusing filtered Mississippi River water (see page 32).
In 2018, we reduced our greenhouse gas emissions on an intensity basis by 8.4 percent from a 2015 baseline, close to our goal of 10 percent by 2020. We shifted our reporting from a location-based method to a market-based one, aligned with best practice standards, so we could account for our growing renewable electricity purchases and on-site generation.
The drivers for our emissions reductions are renewable electricity purchases in Europe and increased overall water and energy efficiency. Thanks to a North American renewable electricity deal we signed in 2018 (see page 32), we are set to surpass our global greenhouse gas emissions goal significantly.