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Making the most of each and every drop

Clean water is essential not just for life itself, but for making sure we can live good-quality, enjoyable lives. Climate change and the growing global population mean that ensuring everyone has access to this most precious of resources is one of our biggest challenges. Rasmus Valanko, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Kemira explains how chemistry is helping us succeed.

Making the most of each and every drop

It’s often said that climate change speaks the language of water, because many of the impacts of climate change are felt most acutely through water. As the planet heats up, water often ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Our job is to develop technologies and solutions that make sure water is in the right place at the right time, and of the right quality,” says Rasmus. “We want to enhance the opportunities for people to live the kind of life that they aspire to, and access to clean, safe water is a critical to that.”

As clean water becomes increasingly scarce, we all have to think more carefully about how we use it. It’s estimated that worldwide, 780 million people do not have access to an improved water source, and an estimated 2.5 billion people, or more than 35% of the global population, lack access to improved sanitation.

We see our role as a custodian of this valuable resource because we have the ability to help everyone make the most of it.

“When you look at a map of the world or a globe, it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security as you stare at the expanses of blue. But only 3% of the earth’s water is fresh, and an even smaller percentage of that is available for drinking,” Rasmus emphasizes. “And we’re not going to get any more. At Kemira we see our role as a custodian of this valuable resource because we have the ability to help everyone make the most of it.”

We all achieve more together

“As a single company we can’t tackle this problem on our own, but through collaboration with our customers – cities and municipalities, and water-intensive industries – we can make a real difference.”

“We do this in three main ways. Firstly, through our work with cities’ and municipalities’ water treatment plants, we ensure citizens have access to the clean, safe, and affordable drinking water they need for a healthy life. Secondly, we help municipalities and industries ensure that the wastewater they discharge is clean enough to allow people to enjoy swimming in the local lake, or to eat the fish they catch from the river. Thirdly, we help water-intensive industries use less water and make their processes more sustainable, for example by enabling them to use recycled water rather than fresh water in their processes,” Rasmus explains.

We want to help society adapt and build resilience so we all start using water in the most sustainable way possible.

Water scarcity is a problem that is not going away. The World Health Organization estimates that half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas by 2025, which is only a few years away. “We want to help society adapt and build resilience so we all start using water in the most sustainable way possible,” Rasmus concludes.

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Name
Rasmus Valanko
Title
Director, Corporate Responsibility
Industry experience
5 years working with global companies on climate and energy at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development; 7 years at Shell in procurement, climate change and alternative energies strategy; 3 years with the government of Finland on international environmental agreements and overseas development aid.
At Kemira since
2019
Location
Helsinki, Finland
Ways to unwind
Any outdoor activities but especially running and climbing

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