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 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
  • Advocating for effective water policy
  • Encouraging and empowering our employees to be water stewards at work, at home, and in their local communities

In 2015, we exceeded our previous target to reduce global water use 25 percent by achieving a 29 percent reduction in water use based on a 2009 baseline. We have established 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 ≥ 90% of our strategic suppliers with the highest environmental impact
    • By 2020, we will engage with those suppliers and request them to identify water use reduction opportunities
    • By 2025, ≥ 90% 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 65 percent of the wastewater from our manufacturing plants is treated on-site before being discharged to rivers or other surface water bodies. The remaining 35 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 to the environment. Each facility uses internal EQC standards to: 1) assess the potential risk from their operations using science-based and industry-accepted risk assessment methods; 2) minimize environmental impacts; and 3) establish procedures for managing APIs in wastewater. All of our production facilities have, or are being provided with, API-treatment technology 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 are under great pressure. Even in established markets, our business faces water-related risks. Click on the links below for related information about:


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 their operations on the local watershed, assure compliance, and drive continuous improvement in how water is used and 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 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 are employed at more than half our facilities worldwide and reduce our freshwater use by more than 500 million gallons
  • Reverse osmosis (RO) “reject water” is reused for non-potable and non-process applications such as cooling-tower feed water and fire water

Over the past several years, we have committed $106 million of our $123 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 2018.

Facility-specific projects:

  • Our Danville, Pennsylvania site in the U.S. completed a water-reduction project that won the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. The project included reducing the use of once-through cooling water, installing an upgraded closed-loop cooling system and fitting cooling water distribution pumps with variable frequency drives. The project has saved approximately 0.7 billion gallons of water over the past two years.
  • Our site in Campinas, Brazil, is upgrading its on-site industrial wastewater treatment plant. The project will provide for reuse of at least 15,850 gallons per day of treated effluent as make-up water in the site’s cooling towers. This corresponds to a site water savings of approximately 5.8 million gallons per year. This will help ensure sufficient future site water supply in a region that has recently experienced drought conditions.
  • Our facility in Singapore uses “NEWater” from the public utility company, which has been reclaimed for non-potable use in industrial and cooling applications

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.

The CEO Water Mandate endorsers have a responsibility to make water-resource management a priority and to work with governments, UN agencies, non-governmental 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.

Highlights of 2016 activity in our local communities:

  • We provided $100,000 in funding to the Triangle Land Conservancy of North Carolina to enable the completion of the 40-acre Reimer Nature Preserve Expansion Project, which will protect two forested tributaries of the South Fork of the Little River. This project will help protect the local drinking water for the cities of Durham and Raleigh, as well as the water supplied to our manufacturing facility in Durham. This property will also offer habitat for local wildlife and will be used for environmental education.
  • In 2016, we formed a partnership with Upper Gwynedd Township to improve water quality in the Wissahickon, Skippack and Little Neshaminy Creek watersheds located near our facility in Upper Gwynedd, Pennsylvania. Our company provided $45,000 in funding towards a project to build water retention basins at a local school. In addition to tackling storm water management, the partnership will work to restore natural streams by addressing historical damage caused by urban storm water runoff.


In 2016, the reduced demand across our manufacturing network resulted in a water-use reduction of 0.8 billion gallons from 2015. In 2016, we used 5.5 billion gallons of water versus 6.3 billion gallons used in 2015, which reflects a 13 percent reduction in water use.

Approximately 65 percent of the total water we used in 2016 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 2016, we operated 14 manufacturing and/or research facilities in areas with “Extremely High” Baseline Water Stress according to the WRI 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 currently undergoing an assessment of the facilities that are located in areas of High Baseline Water Stress to determine if more extensive water management plans are needed at these sites. 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


Extremely HighHighMedium to HighLow to MediumLowN/A% of TotalTotal
North America0.550.752.810.000.010.0275%4.15
Europe, Middle East and Africa0.
Asia Pacific0.
Latin America0.
N/A: Categorization was not available.


Extremely HighHighMedium to HighLow to MediumLowN/A
North America13%18%68%0%0%1%
Europe, Middle East and Africa4%12%7%29%43%5%
Asia Pacific60%3%13%0%6%19%
Latin America0%22%0%48%2%28%
N/A: Categorization was not available.


Pumped water (surface water and groundwater)
Purchased water2.
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.