As the world celebrates World Water Day today (March 22), the company has established 2030 goals in both areas that are part of Cummins’ PLANET 2050 environmental sustainability strategy.
In the company’s plants and operations, PLANET 2050 includes the 2030 goal of reducing absolute water consumption by 30%. The strategy also establishes the 2030 goal of producing net water benefits that exceed the company’s annual water use in all Cummins regions around the world.
“We can’t have a prosperous world without clean air, water and land, and every employee has a role to play,” said Brian Mormino, the company’s Executive Director of Technical & Environmental Systems, speaking during Cummins’ most recent June Environmental Month.
PLANTS AND FACILITIES
Cummins implemented a water strategy in 2014 for its plants and facilities and has been improving its stewardship ever since, achieving a 53% reduction in direct water use, adjusted by hours worked, in 2020 compared to a 2010 baseline. That reduction surpassed the company’s 2020 goal of a 50% reduction compared to 2010, again adjusted by hours worked.
Much of Cummins’ water efficiency improvements then were achieved through low- and no-cost efforts, such as fixing leaks and optimizing processes. Efforts also involved capital projects, primarily equipment efficiency upgrades and other high-impact projects such as single-pass cooling elimination, additional regenerative dynamometer installations to cool test engines more efficiently, and innovative wastewater reuse projects. (The reuse project at Cummins' Rocky Mount Engine Plant in North Carolina is photographed above.)
In its 2021 Sustainability Progress Report, which includes the most recent data available (2022 data will be released later this year), Cummins reported using just under 840 million gallons of water in 2021 compared to about 960 million in 2018, a roughly 12.5% reduction.
The company’s 2030 goal is an absolute reduction in direct water use, unadjusted by hours worked or revenues. So, to meet that goal, Cummins will need to reduce water consumption even if hours worked, or revenues, increase.
Cummins plans to continue reducing consumption through low- and no-cost efforts, notably fixing leaks and optimizing processes, but will also work to eliminate water use in some areas, if possible, to meet its aggressive 30% reduction goal.
CUMMINS WATER WORKS
Cummins Water Works will play a key role in meeting the company’s other water-related 2030 goal. On July 14 this year, the multi-million-dollar program will mark its second anniversary, strengthening communities through sustainable water by addressing the global water crisis.
Through partnerships with The Nature Conservancy and Water.org, Cummins Water Works has helped more than 500,000 people, providing nearly 6 billion gallons in annual water benefits to communities around the world, increasing access to clean water and improved water quality.
The program’s support for Water.org, for example, has allowed the nonprofit to complete thousands of infrastructure improvement projects, installing spigots, plumbing, taps, pumps and water storage tanks.
Additionally, Cummins’ funds supported the marketing of loan opportunities to families in vulnerable communities. The funds also helped teach banks how to process low-capital environmental loans and show that the loans are profitable.
Cummins Water Works helped mobilize more than $40 million in capital with a loan repayment rate of just over 99%. More than 80% of the applicants were female.
Cummins Water Works projects are currently underway in Brazil, Canada, China, Ghana, India, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa and the United States. These projects address an array of local needs, from building oyster reefs that filter algae from the water and remove nutrients that can be harmful to other aquatic life, to sponsoring low interest loans for underserved populations, and installing indoor plumbing.
In these and many other ways, Cummins is working to be good stewards of water, in keeping with its mission of making people’s lives better by powering a more prosperous world.