A Message From Our Chairman
Our associates are working on site at more than 1.3 million customer locations in more than 170 countries around the world. They know firsthand what problems our customers are facing, and they apply unlimited resourcefulness to find the solutions.
Fundamental to our approach is an understanding that real and lasting change is accelerated when economic, environmental and social benefits align. This has been true since our beginnings more than 90 years ago. Today, when the pressure on all natural resources is far greater, and the expectations for sustainable performance are much higher, our ability to help our customers do more with less is even more important.
The purpose of our company is to provide and protect what is vital: clean water, safe food, abundant energy and healthy environments. There are more people needing more food, more water and more energy, than ever before. With this as our business focus, we operate at the nexus of the world’s most critical business, environmental and social challenges. It’s a very exciting place to be.
In 2013, Ecolab associates helped customers in more than 40 industries operate more efficiently, expand their operations responsibly in resource-scare regions, and adapt to meet changing conditions and expectations. Our business model combines technology and information with on-the-ground service and training to deliver lasting improvements. Because we are so close to our customers, with intimate knowledge of their operations, we are able to bring informed insights to our research and development work.
Our 25,000 sales and service associates are supported by 1,600 scientists working in our global innovation centers in Europe, North America, and Asia, as well as additional technical centers in strategic locations. Last year, we launched a number of new solutions to help our customers improve operational efficiency and minimize environmental impact. In fact, it was the largest innovation pipeline in our company’s history, with more than 80 significant product introductions. As part of our innovation process, we consider how each solution reduces cost, increases efficiency, minimizes use of natural resources and improves human and environmental safety – through sourcing, manufacturing, transportation and delivery, use and disposal. You’ll read about some of those innovations in this report.
Our work for our customers has naturally led us to collaboration within industries and across sectors to address global challenges. A good example is our involvement with the Alliance for Water Stewardship. Last year, we fielded the beta International Water Stewardship Standard at two sites within the lower Yangtze, one of China’s most critical watersheds. By advancing the development of the Standard in one of the world’s most water-stressed regions, we are helping to improve water management practices globally. We’re also sharing our expertise and our insights through a number of industry groups that are working on sustainability issues – an extension of our customer relationships.
While our greatest impact will always be through our work with our customers, we walk the talk within our own company. As Ecolab grows and becomes increasingly global, we are strengthening our commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of our own operations and improving our safety performance.
This past year, workplace and driver safety programs were launched globally. We reduced vehicle accidents by nine percent and injuries by six percent – and severe vehicle accidents were at a world-class low level. Our ultimate objective is zero accidents and injuries and we keep working towards that goal.
We also have a history of continuously improving our environmental performance. Ecolab achieved a 22.4 percent intensity reduction in U.S. GHG emissions from our 2006 baseline, exceeding our stated goal by 2012. We also reduced waste by 20 percent between 2009 and 2012, surpassing a target of 18 percent.
Going forward, we’re committed to doing even more to be responsible stewards of the environment. In 2014, we will set the bar higher for ourselves. We will launch more aggressive global sustainability targets, including 25 percent reductions in effluent discharge and waste, 20 percent reduction in water use and 10 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2017.
We are finding that talented people who want to make a real difference in the world are drawn to our company because of our purpose, our dedicated associates and our unique ability to help address complex global challenges. We know that our customers are counting on us to help them succeed and grow, and meet their own ambitious sustainability goals. Our growing global team is eager to exceed their expectations. We’re proud of what our 45,000 associates do every day in partnership with our customers to make the world cleaner, safer and healthier.
Douglas M. Baker, Jr.
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer