Access to clean water is critical for human health and is a key input to our manufacturing operations.



Our global water strategy aims to achieve sustainable water management within our operations and our supply chain. To achieve these strategic objectives, we are focusing on the following commitments:

  • Ensuring that our wastewater discharges comply with local and national standards, as well as internal company requirements
  • Understanding and controlling our operational water footprint
  • Managing water risk at our facilities and in our supply chain
  • Reporting publicly on our water use and goals
  • Encouraging our employees to be water stewards at work, at home and in their local communities

GOAL: By 2020, we will develop water conservation plans for sites in “high water risk” locations.

2017 PROGRESS: On track

GOAL: By 2025, we will maintain global water use at or below 2015 levels.

2017 PROGRESS: 4.4 million cubic meters below 2015 levels (18% reduction)

In 2017, we announced new water goals to help us manage water-related risks in our operations and supply chain:

  • Maintain global water use at or below 2015 levels through 2025
  • Implement water conservation plans for internal sites in “high water risk” locations by 2020
  • Supply chain:
    • By 2018, we will collect water-use data from at least 90 percent of our strategic suppliers with the highest environmental impacts
    • By 2020, we will engage with those suppliers and request that they identify water-use reduction opportunities
    • By 2025, ≥ 90 percent of our strategic suppliers with the highest environmental impacts will set their own water-use reduction targets

Wastewater from our facilities is managed and treated to meet regulatory standards and minimize environmental impacts. We operate wastewater-treatment plants at many of our production and research facilities. Approximately 66 percent of the wastewater from our manufacturing plants is treated on-site before being discharged into rivers or other surface-water bodies. The remaining 34 percent is sent to local municipal wastewater-treatment facilities that have the technology and capacity to treat our wastewater.

All of our facilities are required to implement an internal Environmental Quality Criteria (EQC) program for controlling active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) discharges into the environment. Each facility uses internal EQC standards to: (1) assess the potential risk from its operations using science-based and industry-accepted risk assessment methods; (2) minimize environmental impacts; and (3) establish procedures for managing APIs in wastewater. Our production facilities have, or are being provided with, API-treatment technology where needed, so that our wastewater discharges meet these internal standards.

As we strive to meet the health needs of our patients, we are increasingly operating in regions of the world where access to clean water and proper sanitation is under great pressure. Even in established markets, our business faces water-related risks.


We are committed to the responsible use of water and to managing the water-related risks and impacts in our upstream supply chain.

Our internal Environmental Management Standard for water requires each of our sites to assess the impact of its operations on the local watershed, assure compliance, and drive continuous improvement in how water is used and in the quality of water discharged. Our Energy Center of Excellence includes the total cost of water in energy-related project evaluations, and drives best practices that conserve both energy and water.

Our water-use-reduction initiatives include:

  • Consideration of water use in process design
  • Cooling-system optimization
  • Prompt repairs and maintenance of steam-distribution systems and traps
  • Recovery and reuse of steam condensate and “reject water”
  • Process-water purification system optimization
  • Avoiding the use of water in mechanical seals, such as those in pumps

Our sites employ a variety of technologies and techniques aimed at reducing our water footprint and improving operational performance. Closed-loop cooling systems, which reduce freshwater use, are employed at more than half of our facilities worldwide. Reverse osmosis (RO) “reject water” is reused for non-potable and non-process applications such as cooling-tower feed water and fire water. In all, more than 1 million cubic meters of water are recovered, reused or recycled at our facilities, which is equivalent to 6 percent of the total water that is withdrawn.

Over the past several years, we have committed $119.6 million of our $120.6 million water-infrastructure-improvement fund to install API-treatment technology and reduce water use at eight facilities. The remainder of this water fund is expected to be committed by the end of 2018.

One example of a site-based water project is our Campinas facility in Brazil, which operates a wastewater filtering garden to treat approximately 480 cubic meters per month of sanitary wastewater produced by the plant. The treatment technology used is a “phytoremediation” process that takes advantage of the filtering capacity of the roots of native and exotic plant species. The plants filter and absorb the pollutants and sunlight disinfects the pond. Unlike conventional wastewater treatment plants, the filtering garden system does not use chemical compounds, working only with aerators and small pumps. The project also provides employees with access to walkways and sidewalks around the garden.

CEO Water Mandate

We have endorsed the UN CEO Water Mandate, a public commitment to adopt and implement a comprehensive approach to water management, and we have aligned our water program with its principles.

CEO Water Mandate endorsers have a responsibility to make water-resource management a priority and to work with governments, UN agencies, nongovernmental organizations, local communities and other interested parties to address global water challenges. We are working to identify partnerships that will help us advance our water stewardship priorities in the areas in which we operate.

Our 2017 contribution of $100,000 to the Nature Conservancy’s Atchafalaya River Basin Initiative near our Baton Rouge, Louisiana, facility will help protect a critically important freshwater system that supplies drinking water for the area and also provides flood protection for millions of Americans.


In 2017, the reduced demand across our manufacturing network resulted in a water-use reduction of 4.4 million cubic meters from 2015. In 2017, we used 19.5 million cubic meters of water versus 23.9 million cubic meters used in 2015, representing an 18 percent reduction in water use.

Approximately 66 percent of the total water we used in 2017 was supplied from nearby surface water and groundwater resources, with the balance sourced from municipal water supplies. Many of our facilities employ water reuse and recovery strategies, including recirculation of water in cooling towers and condensate recovery.

We use the World Resources Institute’s (WRI’s) Aqueduct water-risk-assessment tool to measure and map our water risks. Sites are categorized using the “Baseline Water Stress” indicator, which is the ratio of total annual water withdrawals to total available annual renewable supply, and accounts for upstream consumptive use. Higher stress values indicate more competition among water users.

In 2017, we operated 14 manufacturing and/or research facilities in areas with “extremely high” Baseline Water Stress, according to the WRI’s Aqueduct tool. Our manufacturing facilities that use the most water are located in areas of “medium to high” or “high” Baseline Water Stress and are located in the U.S.

We are assessing our facilities located in areas of “extremely high” and “high” Baseline Water Stress to determine if more extensive water management plans are needed. We are also working to identify “hot spots” of water use within our supply chain so that we can begin to engage with our suppliers on the issue of water risk.


Global Water Use
Europe, Middle East, Africa : Global Water Use
Asia Pacific : Global Water Use
North America : Global Water Use
Latin America : Global Water Use
Global Water UseEurope, Middle East, Africa : Global Water UseAsia Pacific : Global Water UseNorth America : Global Water UseLatin America : Global Water Use
Water Use & Risk by Region (m3)Extremely HighHighMed to HighLow to MedLowN/A% of TotalTotal
North America2.082.6210.400<0.010.0478%15.15
Europe, Middle East and Africa0.050.350.260.731.310.1915%2.88
Asia Pacific0.790.010.1500.080.236%1.25
Latin America00.0600.09<0.010.061%0.21
N/A: Categorization was not available.
Water Use & Risk by Region (%)Extremely HighHighMed to HighLow to MedLowN/A
North America14%17%69%0%0%0%
Europe, Middle East and Africa2%12%9%25%45%7%
Asia Pacific63%1%12%0%6%18%
Latin America0%27%0%44%1%28%
N/A: Categorization was not available.
Water Use by Source (million m3)120132014201520162017
Pumped water (surface water and groundwater)20.118.916.213.512.9
Purchased water8.
1. In accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, prior-year data have been adjusted to add or remove facilities that have been acquired and sold. Adjustments also reflect changes in methodology to ensure consistency from year to year.