Water Scarcity

Water withdrawal reduction (manufacturing)

Reduce Water Consumption and Manage Water Quality with Monozukuri That Cares Ecosystem Service

Demand for water is expected to increase globally, driven by rising populations and economic development. With rain patterns also changing due to extreme weather events, the stability of the water supply becomes a more pressing social concern with every passing year.

Forecasts suggest that the world will face a 40% shortfall in water supplies by 2030, and “Extreme weather events”, “Human-made environmental damage”, and “Natural resource crises” and other water-related risks are ranked highly in the annual Global Risks Report issued by the World Economic Forum. For example, “Natural resource crises” include serious risks related to water, such as the depletion of water resources. “Clean Water and Sanitation” is also one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The 1.5oC Special Report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018 reported that risks and effects from extreme weather events, such as heavy rain and drought, would increase if temperatures rose by 1.5oC, and that such risks and effects would be even more severe and become widespread if temperatures rose by 2oC. Water resource management to mitigate water shortages, flooding, and many other challenges is a key factor in promoting sustainable development.

Globally, the agricultural sector is said to account for the largest share of water consumption at roughly 70%. The industrial sector comes second, consuming around 20% of water globally, and the municipal sector accounts for the remaining 10%. Automakers are not considered to face particularly high water risks within the industrial sector. However, Nissan believes that reducing dependence on water resources is important to being a sustainable company, and is taking steps to improve water quality management and reduce water usage across its production sites.

Nissan manages wastewater quality to even stricter standards than required by local regulations at every one of its production sites. At its Japanese sites, Nissan has further strengthened protections against water pollution by attaching water quality sensors to the discharge ports of its wastewater treatment facilities to automatically suspend discharge of water outside the grounds if water quality problems are detected. Processing recycled water using reverse osmosis (RO) membranes has allowed some sites to achieve zero wastewater discharge.

The steps Nissan is taking to reduce water usage as part of NGP2022 include sharing best practices among plants, investing in equipment, and expanding the role of Nissan Energy Saving Collaboration (NESCO) team known as “resource NESCO” (rNESCO) that specializes in assessing water usage and waste.

Additionally, because water issues vary greatly across different regions, Nissan assesses water risk using its own methods for each of its production sites throughout the world. At sites where high risk is found, Nissan prioritizes measures to expand dedicated water sources, such as building reservoirs to collect rainwater.

NGP2022 objective

Reduce water intake at global production sites 21% by 2022 (vs. 2010/per vehicle manufactured)

Key Activities in NGP2022

All production sites: Share best practices among plants, invest in equipment, expand rNESCO, and improve the paint process
High-risk sites: Improve wastewater recycling efficiency and reduce external water withdrawal

Created based on the World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas (aqueduct.wri.org).