“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.”
-Jacques Cousteau, Oceanographer
“Getting in the water to surf is mentally transformational and inspirational, every time. Surfers see the water differently and value it differently. Every time I get out of the water, I feel more confident in my choice to help advance the sustainability of the built environment. The oceans and natural environment at large need change from every major industry to survive as we know them. -Kathleen Eagan, CEO ecomedes
Water is spiritual and essential to everyone on the planet but unbelievably, 2.2 billion people around the globe lack safely managed drinking water and 4.2 billion people do not have access to safely managed sanitation. In response, as a global community, the United Nations in 1993 designated March 22 as World Water Day to focus on the importance of clean and accessible freshwater for communities around the world. The day is also a celebration for water and the importance of water to all of us. The United Nation Water (UN-Water) entity was also established to coordinate efforts between UN groups and international organizations working on water and sanitation issues.
UN-Water supports the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015 by all United Nations Member States, which is a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. Specifically, UN-Water works with other UN committees to work towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Water issues have become even more apparent with the Covid pandemic; more than 3 billion people lack basic hand washing facilities at their home. Limited access to clean water is not only a problem in remote locations. The drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan is one of the more recent cases, where drinking water was contaminated with lead and copper, causing breakouts of Legionnaires' disease and other health problems.
As we look towards solutions and strategies to address the drinking water crisis, global and local policies, continuous research and monitoring, and community groups rise to the top.
In honor of World Water Day, we want to celebrate some of the companies in the ecomedes database that are creating products that support cleaner water and a healthier environment.
Here are five companies to check out:
As a company, Moen has a mission to “innovate, engineer and design for water of tomorrow. To conserve Earth’s most precious resource, while improving how we experience it. And empower and enable people to minimize their water usage, without ever having to think about it. Because today, water runs. But tomorrow, we hope it never runs out.” All of their faucets and showerheads are designed to be water efficient, with products reducing water use by over 30%. Additionally, Moen’s provides filtration systems and highlights the importance of reducing single use plastics on their website. Check out Moen’s products on ecomedes here.
2. Elkay Manufacturing Company
Elkay is dedicated to sustainability and states their commitment to “protecting the environment and the communities where we work and live” on their website. Elkay products include sinks, faucets, and water filtration systems. Each of their products are designed with recyclability and performance in mind. For example, their sinks are made of 60% recycled steel and the sinks are 100% recyclable. Elkay facets are designed to be low flow, last a long time, and made of recyclable brass material. Their water filtration refill stations are frequently used in public spaces, lobbies, and school campuses, helping to eliminate the need to buy plastic water bottles. Check out Elkay’s products on ecomedes here.
Toto is dedicated to making product transparency understandable and meaningful to inform greener & healthier decisions and they manufacture low flow toilets that receive high performance reviews. Toto has created a category called PeoplePlanetWater Products across all their categories that help customers earn LEED v4 credits for environmental product declarations and material ingredient disclosure. You can search Toto’s products with Environmental Product Declarations on ecomedes here.
Tarkett is “committed to a sustainable, circular economy that creates value for everyone, closing the loop on waste, preserving natural resources and reducing our impact on climate change.” In the framework of its “closed loop circular design” approach, based on four pillars (good materials, resource stewardship, people friendly space, reuse), Tarkett works to optimize the use of resources at their manufacturing facilities. Related to water use, Tarkett facilities have taken specific steps to reduce water use. For example, at the facility in Konz, Germany, Tarkett installed a closed-loop water circuit and renovated its pipe system, resulting in a 65 percent reduction (liters/square meter of product) of the water consumption in 2014 compared with the previous year. Similar steps have been taken at other facilities. Tarkett also recently partnered with the non-profit organization Fill it Forward to support the Navajo Water Project, an effort to provide hot and cold running water to the homes of families across New Mexico, Utah and Arizona without access to water or sewer lines. Check out Tarkett’s products on ecomedes here.
As a brand, Grohe “stands for quality, technology, design and sustainability. Thus sustainability also means responsibility – responsibility towards people and the environment.” Grohe’s guidelines for sustainability identify the steps that the company takes to assure that sustainability is woven into the pillars of the company, ranging from products to customers to suppliers to social responsibility. Grohe was recently named one of the “50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders” by the United Nations. You can watch a short documentary about Grohe’s sustainability efforts here. The documentary highlights steps that the company is taking at the factory level, like installing solar panels at all of their facilities, and new technology that the company is incorporating into their products. For example, with Grohe’s EcoJoy technology, water consumption is reduced by up to half without any compromise on performance. Another example is Grohe’s Blue drinking water filtration systems that can help a family of four save up to 800 plastic bottles each year, thereby reducing CO2 emissions by 61 percent. Check out Grohe’s products on ecomedes here.