EUR 700,000

costs cut by improving water management

One of the aims of our environmental management is to use water sustainably at our sites. This also means keeping consumption as low as possible in areas where water is scarce, and reducing or preventing emissions to water. Because water consumption levels and the availability of water vary from one location to another, measures to reduce water consumption and to protect water resources are defined and implemented at the local level. In 2013, we identified around 30 projects that help us make the Group’s water management more efficient and cut costs by more than EUR 700,000. We carried out several water-related projects, including improvements to cooling water systems such as the optimisation of cooling towers and water pumps in North America and at one site in Germany. The initiatives at these sites alone generated cost savings of more than EUR 110,000. In Poland, we have installed a system at one of our sites which recycles waste water and collects rainwater. This cuts water consumption levels by around 3,600 cubic metres per annum and is also helping to lower costs. We offer our customers solutions to improve the quality of drinking water, to optimise the treatment of waste water and to reuse water through closed-loop systems.

Water in the Linde Group 2013 (in million cubic metres)
Water in the Linde Group (graphic)

Water use

In the 2013 financial year, we used approximately 681 million cubic metres of water (2012: 664 million cubic metres). Over 85 percent of the water used by the group is for cooling purposes. Most of this cooling water is simply heated and can subsequently be fed back into the water system without the need for any further treatment. We take care to ensure that the water’s temperature does not pose any risk to the surrounding ecosystem. Only a small proportion of the water used is consumed or contaminated. This water is used in the manufacture of products, in office buildings, and to produce steam. In 2013, the Group’s water consumption for these purposes was around 44.5 million cubic metres (2012: 47.4 million cubic metres). We use closed-loop systems as a means of reducing our water consumption, as these systems enable water to be used several times. Depending on the water quality and the equipment used in the plants, this means that only a small quantity of the water needs to be replaced.

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Emissions to water1 (in tonnes)


















Assured by KPMG


We monitor compliance with local regulatory requirements worldwide and report our data for all sites legally obliged to report emissions.

Chemical oxygen demand (COD)









Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)



























As a result of the first-time application of the revised accounting standards, the sites in the scope of our reporting changed in the 2013 financial year. Accordingly, the key financial, environmental and employee KPIs for 2012 were adjusted retrospectively. In addition, the KPIs for employees, occupational health and safety and environmental protection for the year 2012 were retrospectively adjusted to account for the effects of the acquisition of the US homecare company Lincare. To ensure that the figures for 2012 and 2013 can be compared, we reported the full year 2012 for Lincare.

Waste water

We purify the waste water from our production and sanitary facilities in either our own treatment systems or in municipal or industrial treatment facilities. In 2013, Linde reported around 13.8 million cubic metres of waste water worldwide to the authorities (2012: 12.5 million cubic metres). In accordance with local legislation, we measure emissions of phosphates, nitrates and organic compounds.