By Richard McLeod
VP – Global Family Care Product Supply, Procter & Gamble
Procter &Gamble (P&G) plants have been on a steady journey to deliver on our sustainability goal of reducing water use by 20 percent per unit of production between 2010 and 2020. P&G’s Oxnard production facility in Southern California began implementing aggressive water conservation measures many years ago, and in 2015 the mill distinguished itself by setting new site and business records for reduction in levels of water consumption.
In February 2015, the Governor of the State of California issued a mandatory order for a non-agricultural economy-wide 25 percent absolute fresh water consumption reduction within one year, versus a 2013 baseline period. This translated into a mandatory 12 percent absolute reduction requirement for the City of Oxnard municipal water users, including our paper mill, by February 2016. Our mill, in partnership with the local municipality, was determined to deliver our fair share in reductions.
We responded swiftly to the mandate, implementing five distinct projects to deliver additional water consumption reduction on top of previously established conservation measures. This ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach resulted in our mill achieving an absolute 12.6 percent water reduction versus the 12 percent mandate for the City of Oxnard. In total, our mill delivered a cumulative absolute fresh water consumption reduction of 28 percent between 2012 and 2015.
Through these reductions, P&G was able to support the City of Oxnard in delivering its expectations for water reductions, maintain a strong relationship with our residential, commercial and agricultural neighbors in the Oxnard area, and deliver on our very important business objectives for the Oxnard mill.
Our Oxnard mill set an example of good stewardship and the positive role that the paper products industry can play in addressing critical societal concerns. In turn, all other P&G non-integrated paper mills are also reducing their water use as they work to deliver against our sustainability goals to reduce water consumption by 20 percent per unit of production by 2020 versus 2010.
Procter & Gamble (P&G) received the 2016 AF&PA Leadership in Sustainability Award for Water for its Water Conservation Response project.