By: Abdullah Bedair
Mubasher: The business volume of US-based water treatment and purification solutions company Ecolab in Egypt and the MENA region has reached $200 million, Vishal Sharma, Senior Vice President - India, Middle East, and Africa at Ecolab, told Mubasher.
In 2021, Ecolab helped its customers in Egypt save 2.40 billion litres of drinking water, enough to meet the annual drinking water needs of two million people, and cut CO2 emissions by some 222,000 kilograms.
At a global level, Ecolab treated and managed 4.10 trillion litres of water last year, reduced energy consumption by 45 trillion British thermal units (Btu), avoided 3.60 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, and conserved 813 billion litres of water.
Ecolab has plans to invest in manufacturing capabilities in a number of countries and launch many products in India and the Middle East & Africa (IMEA) region. It further cooperates with some governments in the fields of water, environment, and hygiene, the Ecolab official revealed.
The company’s revenues hit $13 billion globally across the sectors of water, hygiene, and infection prevention.
The IMEA region is considered one of the most freshwater-scarce geographies worldwide and it comprises 15 out of the 17 most water-stressed countries globally. Local habits and practices in these countries worsen the problem, Sharma noted.
Estimates show that 70% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of MENA-based nations is generated in water-poor areas. Given the surging gap in water supply and demand and the fact that the MENA region is the world's most water-stressed area, a water crisis is expected in the near future if no emergency measures intervene, he explained.
"Water scarcity and climate change are grave threats and their impacts are being felt on all continents across the world, and if we did not act as one global community from that very moment, we are going to face an extremely difficult situation soon. We, as a global community, have a responsibility to use the available resources to safeguard the rights of future generations, and we must rise to it," Sharma stated.
Global warming is the reason behind climate change, which in turn leads to water shortage, extreme weather events, drought, floods, and saltwater intrusion in coastal areas and agricultural land systems as sea levels rise.
By 2030, Ecolab will work to halve its carbon emissions, a goal that will be reached through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the commitment to providing 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030, achieving carbon neutrality by cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 6 million metric tonnes, and protecting 10 million people from catching environmental pollution diseases.
The world may face up to 56% shortfall in freshwater availability by 2030 if countries did not change the way they deal with climate change and minimise its effects, Sharma said, adding that the world would need 10% more energy, 35% more food, and 56% more water by that time.
Furthermore, water scarcity could impact 70% of the global economy and one-third of the world’s population will live in areas suffering from a gap between water supply and demand by more than 50%.
Over the coming three years, demand for water will rise by 40%-50% within the global food systems, by 50%-70% within the industrial and municipal sectors, and by 85% within the energy sector.
For the time being, there are 2 billion people living in water-poor areas and 1 in 10 people worldwide (about 850 million people) do not have access to safe drinking water, Sharma concluded.
With more than 47,000 associates, Ecolab delivers comprehensive solutions, data-driven insights, and personalised service to advance food safety, maintain clean and safe environments, optimise water and energy use, and improve operational efficiencies and sustainability for customers in the food, healthcare, hospitality, and industrial markets in over 170 countries around the world, according to the company's website.