ISLAMABAD - Tobacco Company Limited is reducing its water footprint through effective water stewardship and aims to recycle 50% of total water usage and water withdrawn by 2025.

According to UN statistics, 2.2 billion people around the world still lack safely managed drinking water, including 785 million without basic drinking water and by 2030 water scarcity could potentially displace 700 million people. In Pakistan’s context, the water availability continues to remain under pressure due to the growing population.

As per a report published by Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) in 2018, Pakistan has already crossed the water scarcity threshold and if current trends persist, we could hit the absolute water scarcity threshold of 500 m3 per capita by 2025.

Cognizant of this growing crisis, Pakistan Tobacco Company (PTC) Limited has been steadily reducing its water use and increasing water recycling for several years through carefully planned and executed upgrades in its water infrastructure. Compared to its 2017 baseline, PTC has now achieved an annualized reduction of 64 million liters of water with a decrease of 31% in its operations and commercial footprint. Moreover, through innovative engineering, the company is also recycling 92 million liters of water per annum.

While commenting on the company’s efforts, Ali Akbar, MD and CEO of PTC, said, “PTC recognizes that the looming climate change crisis poses serious threats to the availability and quality of water across the globe. While our industry is not particularly water intensive, the all-pervading impact of climate change and the consequent disruptions in our water ecosystem are challenges to which no entity is immune. We are fully aware that effective water stewardship is indispensable for the company’s long-term success and for the communities in which we operate.”

He further stated that the company’s water stewardship strategy is to simultaneously focus on reducing its freshwater demand by recycling water and increasing the efficiency of its water infrastructure. The effluent treatment plants installed across its manufacturing sites are playing a key role in this regard as the treated water is being used to substitute freshwater usage in its utilities and ancillary services. Additionally, to reduce water usage at farm level, PTC has also deployed drip irrigation units under its Farmer Support programme resulting in 231 million liters of water saving annually.

For 2025, PTC’s ambition is to achieve 50% water recycling ratio and 50% water withdrawal reduction and is also pursuing Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) certification for all its sites.