Allergan: Company-wide ambition for water conservation achieves tangible business benefits


A multi-specialty health care company established more than 60 years ago, Allergan has approximately 10,000 employees, a presence in more than 100 countries, and a portfolio of pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and over-the-counter consumer products.

Challenge: To protect a core product ingredient by coordinating more ambitious water reduction targets
In 1994, Allergan set an environmental health and safety policy that became the basis of its sustainability efforts. Recognizing that water is a core product ingredient, the company identified a critical need to strategically manage its water use and to ensure that water remains available and of high quality.

To achieve its water sustainability goals, during the 1990s Allergan began collecting water use data from its worldwide facilities and set targets to reduce water consumption. This measurement and management process has played a key role in enabling the company to reduce water consumption at global facilities by more than 12% between 2000 and 2010. However, the growing pressure on water resources worldwide and the crucial role of water in the Allergan business model demanded more ambitious target-setting and engagement across the entire company.

Solution: Identifying vulnerabilities to drive action and ambition
In 2009, Allergan participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s water pilot and submitted worldwide company data to CDP. Taking part in the CDP Water Disclosure program allowed Allergan to measure the criticality of water to its business, identify the location of water supply vulnerabilities arising from factors such as drought, and instigate planning for potential disruptions to minimize risk. In 2010, a program to save water at the Allergan Pharmaceuticals site in Westport, Ireland, delivered significant results. The program was designed to trial simple water reduction techniques including the use of flow meters to identify differences between optimal and actual water usage and identifying and repairing leakages. Because of this program, the Westport factory reduced water consumption by more than 50%.

The success of the Westport pilot and Allergan’s response to CDP Water Disclosure have facilitated company-wide dialogue to drive continuously strong target-setting for water use. Allergan has now developed a ten-year vision to reduce water consumption by 50% across all of its operations by 2020.

Benefit: A competitive edge through sustainability and trust-building
Continuous cost savings of $145,000 per year from the Westport pilot indicates that Allergan will receive significant business benefits from working towards its vision of a company-wide 50% reduction in water use.

“Our success at the Westport facility has demonstrated that Allergan needs to be looking at all aspects of its business for these valuable and sustainable opportunities”, says Senior Director Mike Whaley. “We can place the business in a very competitive position by using the simple measurement and analysis techniques which the Westport team employed.” Allergan’s approach to sustainable business has also had significant reputational benefits amongst investors, government bodies, suppliers, neighboring communities and its own employees: “Having a vehicle like CDP Water Disclosure is a great way to ensure that our sustainability efforts are communicated to our key stakeholders and that we continue to build trust with the communities in which we do business,” explains Mr Whaley.

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