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Our commitment to SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

Our commitment to SDG 6:  Clean Water and Sanitation

At Janssen, we are committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. These SDGs are intended to sustainably improve the health and welfare of people worldwide. SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation - focuses on global access to clean water and sanitation, and sustainable management of this for all. Businesses can contribute to this by making their water use more efficient and sustainable, ultimately reducing the number of people suffering from water shortages.

Groundwater being the sustainable choice

At Janssen, we are also committed to SDG 6. We are always looking for smart and innovative solutions to work more sustainably. "That is why we decided in 2018 to launch an innovative project in which we replace our use of softened drinking water - which we used to use for the production of boiler water - with use of on-site groundwater," says Dirk Reyntjens (Senior Maintenance Engineer and expert in (waste) water treatment and soil treatment). The groundwater we use is very slightly contaminated. This water has to be extracted, treated and cleaned, after which it helps us to reduce our drinking water consumption in non-critical technical processes where this is possible, such as air humidification.

By limiting our drinking water use to when this is our only option, we are making our operations more sustainable and we are simultaneously sanitizing the soil. Just by using groundwater for our hot water boilers, we save 60,000 cubic meters of drinking water per year. That is equivalent to the water consumption of more than 380 families. But our ambitions don't stop there: for the long term, our goal is to be able to use treated wastewater as drinking water, which would lead to a completely circular process. Experiments with this demonstrated the potential to further develop this.

Energy & Water Team

Then there is our Energy and Water Team. They are committed to a sustainable water and energy policy by promoting energy and water saving projects. Colleagues Dieter Verheyen (Principal Engineer) and Hans Verbaeten (Process Engineer Utilities) are both part of this team: "There are as many as 45 ambassadors involved in the Energy & Water Team, who work at various Janssen sites in Belgium. Our ambassadors focus on 6 themes:

  • Ventilation

  • Utilities

  • Laboratory equipment

  • Production equipment

  • Lighting

  • Communication and awareness

The goal of the working groups is to turn ideas for energy or water savings into concrete projects. "In doing so, the proposals that can lead to the greatest savings are worked out first," Hans continues. "We do this using criteria such as CO2 reduction, cost-effectiveness, costs and benefits."

“We now use 313 million liters of water less than we did 10 years ago. That's 125 Olympic swimming pools."

Successful reduction in energy and water use

Dieter elaborates on the success of these projects: "The Energy & Water Team has contributed to a drastic reduction in our energy and water consumption over the past 10 years. For example, in Belgium we now use 27,800 MWh of electricity (equivalent to the annual consumption of 7,950 families), 313 million liters of water (equivalent to 125 Olympic swimming pools) and 22,250 MWh of natural gas (equivalent to 4,055 tons of CO2 emissions) less."

The Energy & Water team also aims to create awareness and commitment among employees. The impact of this is clearly noticeable, says Hans, "Our efforts are having a self-reinforcing effect: investments in geothermal energy and wind turbines, combined with a growing awareness - also because sustainability is increasingly higher on the social agenda - are creating more activity within the organization."

“We think it's important for our employees to be engaged and aware of these issues"

Other sustainability initiatives

The activities of the Energy & Water team are just some of the many initiatives we organize to reduce our energy and water use. For example, we also reduce our waste streams with our Plant on a Truck project. Curious about our commitment to the other Sustainable Development Goals? Find out here!!