Million Metric Tons of Avoided Emissions

In 2020, Xylem helped customers reduce their carbon footprint by 0.7 million metric tons of CO2


Billion Cubic Meters of Water

Xylem helped save 0.5 billion cubic meters of water from leaks or unauthorized use in 2020


Billion Cubic Meters of Reused Water

Xylem installed treatment solutions help customers reuse 4.3 billion cubic meters of water

The Path to Drawdown:  Water Distribution Efficiency

Water utilities are some of the largest consumers of electricity globally, responsible for about 1% of total electricity use in the world. Up to 80% of that energy is used for pumping water alone. But ~35% of that water is wasted through pipe leaks, meter error, and unauthorized consumption. This dramatically reduces water supply over time and produces unnecessary emissions to generate the energy used to pump more water.

Water efficiency solutions can minimize this waste. Pressure management and active leak detection are two major solutions. Pressure management means installing pressure valves at water inlets and outlets to better monitor water flow and pressures, and leads to reductions in pipe bursts and leaks. Solving leaks takes financial investment, but it’s the cheapest way to source new supply, serve growing urban populations, and reduce emissions.

Project Drawdown estimates that, if 38-47% of the water distribution network worldwide can adopt pressure management and leak detection solutions, it would reduce CO2e emissions by 0.66 - 0.94 gigatons between 2020 and 2050. That’s an emissions reduction equivalent to taking close to 204.5 million passenger vehicles off the road for one year.


Xylem, Inc. (stock ticker: XYL) is a large American water technology provider. It sells products and services to public utilities, residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial customers. Headquartered in Rye Brook, New York, it does business in more than 150 countries.

XYL’s Role in Drawdown

Xylem’s products and services are offered through three segments (pp. 7-9). The first segment, water infrastructure, primarily supports the process that collects water from a source, treats it and distributes it to users, and then treats and returns the wastewater responsibly to the environment. It sells and rents specialty dewatering pumps and related equipment and services, which provide the safe removal or draining of groundwater and surface water from construction sites or other industrial sites and bypass pumping for the repair of aging utility infrastructure, emergency water transport and removal during severe weather events.

Their applied water segment serves a diverse set of customers in the commercial, residential and industrial end markets. The products offered to these customers include pumps, valves, heat exchangers, controls and dispensing equipment systems.

Their measurement and control solutions segment develops advanced technology solutions that enable intelligent use and conservation of critical water and energy resources. It delivers communications, smart metering, measurement and control technologies and critical infrastructure technologies that allow customers to more effectively use their distribution networks for the delivery, monitoring and control of critical resources like water, electricity and natural gas.

XYL: What We Like

Xylem is taking steps to nudge their suppliers to become more sustainable

  • Require suppliers to provide scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions and water usage
  • Require suppliers to take the WBCSD Pledge for Access to Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene at their workplaces
  • Engage suppliers in sustainability initiatives through audit programs and corrective action plans

They’ve also been taking encouraging steps to enhance the sustainability of their own operations. Their 2020 milestones include:

  • Converting 10 of their 22 major facilities to 100% renewable energy
  • Reducing water intensity by ~30% compared to 2014. Their water usage in 2020 was 19% less compared to 2019
  • Lowering GHG net emissions intensity by more than 7% compared to 2019

Beyond these milestones, Xylem has also set targets (p. 63) for the year 2025:

  • Making all of their major facilities to operate on 100% renewable energy
  • Recycling 100% of water used at all of their major facilities
  • Achieving zero waste to landfill from processes at their major facilities
  • Developing science-based targets for scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions to align with the 1.5°C goal

XYL: What We Want to See Improve

Reduce Absolute Emissions at All Global Locations

Xylem’s 2025 target includes several commitments to enhance sustainability at their major facilities. But according to their definition (p. 112), only 22 of their 375 locations in more than 50 countries (p. 25) qualify as major facilities. We’re afraid reducing emissions, increasing renewable energy use, and reducing waste from such a small portion of their total facilities won’t amount to serious impact. We urge Xylem to extend their targets to all of their global locations.

Completely Transition to Renewable Energy

Xylem relies overwhelmingly on fossil fuels for their operations. In terms of their direct energy use in 2020, only 1.04% is renewable electricity (p. 68). The rest is natural gas, gaseous propane, liquid propane, and fuel oil. We applaud their commitment to shift to 100% renewable energy at their major facilities. We would like to see all of their facilities transition completely to renewable sources of energy.

Switch to Environmentally Friendly Banks

Xylem entered into a five-year credit facility with Citibank in 2019 (p. 87). Unfortunately, Citibank is one of the largest banks that still fund fossil fuel companies. For their future loans, we want to see Xylem switching to environmentally friendly banks that, on principle, don’t fund the fossil fuel industry.

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