By better understanding our water use across the value chain, we can focus our efforts where we can make the biggest difference.

We have mapped our water impact by understanding the volume of water we use throughout the value chain, as well as the context in which in the water is being used. Our measure of water impact considers the availability, quality and regulation of water and social issues across our value chain. Download the footprint here:

Value chain water footprint thumbnail

Value chain water footprint

Download our value chain water footprint PDF

Using less water in our operations 

We use just under 15 million m3 of water per year in our operations – research laboratories, manufacturing sites and offices. We systematically audit our sites to identify opportunities to cut water use. We have cut water use by introducing more water efficient cleaning procedures, identifying and repairing leaks, and investing in efficient equipment. For example, we identified several areas at our Nairobi site in Kenya where we can collect and reuse water and installed a more efficient system to heat water, thereby reducing the site’s water consumption by 16%.

Rachel Muli on the packaging line in Nairobi
Rachel Muli, packaging line, Nairobi

Raw materials

Around 86% of the water used across our value chain - an estimated 1.3 billion m3 a year – is in producing raw materials. Much of this is from agricultural produce such as milk, sugars and eggs.

We partnered with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), a sustainable development NGO in India, to assess how we can help reduce water impact in the rural Indian communities that supply us with the wheat, barley and milk used to manufacture Horlicks.

In 2014, we piloted the approach with 10 of our direct suppliers and in 2015 we extended this work further down the supply chain to 20 suppliers at a rural community level. We have identified projects to address water conservation, rainwater harvesting, waste water treatment, groundwater recharge and rehabilitation of water bodies, and investigated options to implement this research.

Together with Alternative Development Initiatives, an Indian sustainable development NGO, we are also supporting communities in the Horlicks supply chain to improve water management and agricultural yields. An innovative project in Rajasthan, an arid region of India, is now replenishing the local water source for the village of Sawaipura with nearly 200,000m3 water, which is around a quarter of the amount of water that our three Horlicks factories across India use in their operations.

In the Punjab region of India we partner with others to improve local farmers’ water management through conservation practices such as fixing leaks, harvesting rainwater and managing the timing of crop sowing to coincide with rainfall. We are raising awareness through education programmes in over 60 villages across the region. Water is also needed to produce food crops used as fodder for cows so we are training farmers to make use of surplus grass that can be used as cow feed during droughts. This means they do not have to buy fodder and are able to sustain their milk yields all year-round.

Product use

Consumers and patients need water to use many of our products - making a cup of Horlicks, brushing teeth, or to help swallow tablets.  We estimate that consumer use accounts for 13% of our water footprint - most from the water used in cleaning teeth.  In 2016, we continued to promote our 'Turn off the Tap' campaign on the Sensodyne UK website and by printing the logo on our Sensodyne Pronamel toothpaste, to encourage people not to leave the water running while brushing their teeth. Consumer use of our products can potentially alter water quality, as well as quantity.  The pharmaceutical products they use are not always completely absorbed or broken down by the body, and residues can find their way into the environment - particularly  water courses - when medicines are excreted or disposed of.  We assess the environmental risk associated with patients' use of our products to help ensure that potential concentrations in the environment do not exceed safe levels.  This includes testing the active pharmaceutical ingredients for eco-toxic properties.  Since 2014, we have published data summaries of our environmental risk assessments for many of our products.