Janda Campos has more than 20 years of experience working with sustainability from different sectors, which include leading the Danish Government’s CSR efforts, and developing sustainability strategies at the Danish Industry Confederation to building Carlsberg Group’s sustainability and public affairs area as VP. Today, Janda leads Grundfos’ Sustainability and Environmental, Social and Governmental (ESG) efforts, moving the company toward its ambition of being water and climate leaders and fulfilling its purpose on solving the water and climate challenges of the world.
The concept of circular economy entails developing a model of production and consumption that involves reuse, recycle and refurbishing of resources This ensures reduction in the consumption of finite resources, enabling nations, companies and communities to focus on tackling climate change, greenhouse gases and loss of water resources among others.
There is a growing openness towards understanding how the circular economy works. The fact that the world is experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change has made it more urgent for all of us to talk about what we need to do better in terms of our resources. We need to achieve circularity within our production, products, and business models for establishing a model that doesn’t promote depletion of natural resources.
Strengthening collaborations and ratings
Today most nations are seeing significant issues such as flooding and droughts due to, among other things, a combination of climate change and rapid and unplanned industrialization and urbanization, including India. Globally, governments and businesses are partnering to promote sustainable business goals. What we need more of is initiatives like C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group that calls upon mayors, who represent 97 participating cities and around 700+ million residents, to collaborate effectively, share knowledge and drive sustainable action on climate change. There is an active participation in C40 by five Indian cities as well — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Chennai.
Aligning with the government’s efforts, organizations are slowly shifting their focus from a linear mindset towards a circular approach of conducting their business operations. Today, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings are taken into consideration for mapping organizations who are promoting business model that focuses on ‘doing good’ by positively contributing to society and environment.
Promoting circularity with restoration programs
Water plays a key role in most ecosystems and enables the survival of communities at large. Hence restoration of water resources will make ecosystems and communities more resilient in the face of climate change. Today, ecological restoration of water bodies has helped in creating spaces for floodwater by reconnecting floodplains and realignment of estuaries.
A properly restored waterbody not only helps to recharge ground water but also enhances water quality and quantity, including management of nutrient cycling. While techniques like desilting and dredging are important to increase the water storage capacity of a lake, nutrient load reduction and restoration of water bodies helps in enhancing water quality in underdeveloped lakes.
This further helps in restoring and nurturing the local ecosystem – the flora, fauna and ultimately the overall environment. Water sources, if managed properly, also have the potential to enhance water supply and meet the rising water demands. Another important aspect of restoration involves the economic opportunities for communities situated nearby the waterbody.
For example, Grundfos partnered with Cognizant, The Nature Conservancy, Care Earth Trust, and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in a project to restore the 100-acre Sembakkam lake by mid of next year. The work involves cleaning the inlets and outlets, improving the lake’s connectivity with upstream and downstream water bodies, building an eco-friendly wastewater treatment system. The project is helping clear the lake of solid wastes, silt, and invasive plant species, improve the lake’s storage capacity by 50%. Over 10,000 households living around the lake will be benefited through this initiative. This project will also help conserve local biodiversity that includes around 180 plant species (including 11 aquatic species) and more than 65 bird species.
Technology to boost circularity
According to the Water Resources Group, by 2030, the global water demand is expected to be 40% higher than the amount of reliable water we have access to today. While the World Resources Institute states that the global household water demand has increased by 600% since the 1960s and global fresh water supply is decreasing due to water stress and pollution. There is a critical and urgent need to innovate to reverse this trend.
Grundfos recently joined the 50L Home Coalition with the ambition to promote circular water in homes and cities. The 50L Home Coalition is a global action-oriented platform that unites leaders from the private, nonprofit, and public sectors to address two of our most pressing global challenges: water security and climate change. Together, Grundfos and the Coalition will focus on making the reuse and recycling of water the norm in homes, which calls for smarter approaches that allow for water ‘fit-for-purpose’ use.
Another alarming fact is that worldwide cities lose out on 40-70% in non-revenue water (NRW), the water that is lost due to leakages. With the advent of industry 4.0 technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Internet of Things (IoT) we are now able to integrate intelligent systems into water infrastructure or networks to track demand and supply of the water using sensors and algorithms. This ensures less pressure on the water infrastructure, reducing leakage and saving electricity, as the pumps can operate only when required.
An example of this is Demand Driven Distribution (DDD), a unique pressure management system from Grundfos that is backed by intelligent technology and system surveillance. Globally, water utilities that are supplying water, pump water all day at the same pressure, irrespective of when and where the demand is. Demand usually fluctuates through the day. With DDD, water supply can be maintained according to the demand, thus reducing the stress on the pipes as well, because if water is pumped all day at the same pressure, you’re causing more cracks on the pipes due to high pressure, thereby resulting in water leakage.
Charting the course with sustainable practices
The growing demand for sustainable products and solutions, is an opportunity for businesses to integrate sustainable practices and solutions into their operations. Acknowledging the value of sustainability will ensure a sustainable growth, enabling organizations to move towards a circular business model which needs to include resource recovery and circularity of supply chains, products, manufacturing and distribution.
For example, with the implementation of the Grundfos take-back program, we have been taking back some of the company’s circulator pumps and refurbishing them. It is not only a good business case, but also an environmental and a social case in the countries where we’re working with it, like the UK, Netherlands, Argentina and Denmark.
At a time when the world is focused on tackling climate emergency, businesses across the globe need to ensure that their solutions integrate the principles of circular economy by focusing on improving water efficiency and reduction of energy consumption, while creating positive impacts on the environment.