The current focus on sustainability at all points on the value chain provides an opportunity for Ecolab.
Can you describe Ecolab’s activities globally and within the Mexico market?
We are a global company with a presence in over 170 countries, and we operate in more than 40 industries in both the industrial and institutional sectors. Ecolab provides services for heavy industries, such as the petrochemicals and energy industries, and light industries, such as the food and beverages and pulp and paper industries. Within Mexico and the larger Latin American region, Ecolab has very significant operations in the food and beverage industry, in addition to the pulp and paper industry and the petrochemical industry, among others.
How does Ecolab serve the petrochemical and chemical industries?
Our customers are starting to recognize that water management is directly connected to the efficiency of the industrial process and that they need to focus on improving their water usage efficiency. Water management has many parts: capture, use, reuse, reprocessing, and so on. Within the system, we obtain the water, process it, use it as efficiently as we can, reuse it, and ensure that the water is as close to its original form as possible at the end of the process. In the chemical and petrochemical industries, water purification will continue to be a significant area of operation for us.
Has there been a shift in perspectives on water management within the industrial sector?
Water is no longer seen as a cost but as an area of investment. Businesses understand that their overall sustainability metrics are linked to their water management metrics. Companies that already have robust sustainability plans only want to carry out business with companies that are also operating sustainably. This focus on sustainability at all points on the value chain provides an opportunity for Ecolab. We are investing US$200 million in innovation to achieve our goal of helping our customers save 300 billion gallons of water by 2030.
How is Ecolab focusing on digitalization?
Digitalization is the key to water management. Ecolab has a platform called the Smart Water Navigator that helps companies identify what other companies are doing to implement better water management and that demonstrates possible improvements to their processes. We also offer ECOLAB3D, a digital platform that enables companies to see how their processes are doing in real-time, provides performance benchmarks, and offers a forecast of future performance. Through our digital platforms, we provide data for business leaders to make decisions.
What is the greatest challenge Ecolab is currently facing?
The global macroeconomic situation, with the conflict in Europe, is our most significant challenge overall. We are dealing with high inflation and supply chain shortages. For example, our focus on digitalization requires a substantial investment in microchips and the global chip shortage impacts our ability to carry out our digitalization activities.
How is Ecolab supporting Mexico’s energy efficiency goals?
Ecolab supports government water management efforts with all the tools at our disposal. 8% to 10% of water consumption in Mexico comes from the industrial sector, and we are highly focused on lowering industrial water consumption. However, we also assist government investment in municipal water management and digitalization. In Mexico, 40% of water is lost via leaks before even reaching the consumer. I believe we will achieve our national goals set out in the Paris Accords, but they are ambitious. It is essential to ensure that we see a significant return from each investment, and Ecolab provides the expertise to support Mexico’s drive toward sustainable water management.
Can you tell us about your work with Siemens?
We are very proud of our collaboration with Siemens, announced in 2022, to help companies reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by improving their water efficiency. It is yet another example of the importance of digitalization. This collaboration allows us to combine our analytical platforms and broad portfolio of solutions with the expertise of Siemens to help our clients meet their sustainability goals. We are always looking for innovative ways to enable our clients to improve their efficiency and productivity through better resource management.