Five New Companies Join Ceres’ Connect the Drops Water Campaign in California

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Five New Companies Join Ceres’ Connect the Drops Water Campaign in California

Clif Bar, Fetzer Vineyards, Genentech, Qualcomm Incorporated and VMware Join Call for a Sustainable Water Future
Monday, December 14, 2015 - 12:00pm

CONTENT: Press Release

SAN FRANCISCO, December 14, 2015 /3BL Media/ -  Ceres announces today at a Skytop Symposium on Water and Long-Term Value, at Levi Strauss & Co. headquarters, that Clif Bar, Genentech, Fetzer Vineyards, Qualcomm Incorporated and VMware have joined its Connect the Drops Campaign to support resilient water solutions at a time of unprecedented drought in California.

The new company supporters join a diverse group of California businesses that launched Connect the Drops in March this year, including The Coca-Cola Co., Gap Inc., Levi Strauss & Co., and General Mills. Signatory companies employ more than 700 thousand workers, have combined annual revenue of $172 billion, and represent 10 sectors of the California economy—including Agribusiness, Apparel, Beverage, Energy, Healthcare, Home Building and Technology.

“The addition of these new companies brings much needed momentum to the growing chorus of businesses seeking strong policy solutions for California’s significant water challenges," said Kirsten James, Senior Manager of California Policy and Partnerships at Ceres. "Each new company member is employing its own unique strategies to lower its water use, but recognizes that individual action alone cannot solve California’s water challenges.”

Companies joining Connect the Drops agree to 1) make and implement business commitments to support water conservation, and 2) engage with policymakers, employees, customers, and their peers on improving water management and enhancing water efficiency.  The group has advocated policies such as California’s SB 555, which targets leaks in water agency infrastructure and was signed into law in October. 

Californians have reduced water use by 27.1 percent in the five months since emergency conservation regulations took effect in June. Companies joining Connect the Drops are signaling their commitment to do their part to steward the state’s water resources. Among the new members actions to improve their own water footprints:

Genentech has declared a goal of 20 percent overall water reduction by 2020 compared to 2010 levels.   Since its first water efficiency goals were published in 2005, the company has driven significant gains in manufacturing water efficiency, achieving an 87 percent reduction in water use per kg of medicine at the South San Francisco headquarters between 2009 and 2014. Among other accomplishments, Genentech has developed projects to treat and reuse wastewater in cooling towers and boilers.

“Genentech has called California home since our founding nearly 40 years ago, and we know water scarcity is a critical challenge for our state. We are committed to implementing both short- and long-term solutions to conserve water and are pleased to join other companies in a collective effort to advance water stewardship,” said Carla Boragno, Vice President Site Services, at Genentech.

Clif Bar’s extensive organic initiatives foster healthier soils that are more resilient in times of drought. Clif Bar plans to source 80 percent of its ingredients organically by 2020. Beyond the farm, the food company also promotes water stewardship at its facilities and offers its employees incentive programs, such as Cool Home, for receiving up to $1000 per year to reimburse a percentage of purchases that reduce their use of energy, water and waste.

“At Clif Bar, we are committed to reducing our direct water impact through our substantial organic initiatives which minimize nitrogen and pesticide water pollution from our agricultural supply chain and allow soils to retain more moisture,” said Elysa Hammond, Director of Environmental Stewardship at Clif Bar. “As a California-based food company, we joined Connect the Drops because water is not only essential to our business, but to the long-term sustainability of our food, health and environmental systems.”

Fetzer Vineyards, the largest organic wine grape grower in the U.S. certified by California Certified Organic Farmers, and the first winery in California to operate on 100 percent renewable energy, promotes water conservation in its Winery operations and among wine industry colleagues. Fetzer Vineyards employs practices such as the use of peracetic acid to clean its wine tanks, an initiative that reduces water use by over 200,000 gallons annually. Fetzer Vineyards is the largest winery in the world to receive B Corp certification, widely recognized as the highest standard for social and environmental responsibility in business.

“Water is an essential element of our business, and we pursue multiple conservation practices in crafting our quality wines that preserve water resources while more broadly regenerating ecosystems and communities,” said Josh Prigge, Director of Regenerative Development at Fetzer Vineyards. “We joined Connect the Drops to advocate for smart water policies because we believe that solving California’s water crisis requires all stakeholders to come together to craft innovative solutions.”

Across VMware’s 105-acre campus, irrigation efficiency improvements have reduced irrigation water use by 35 percent. Additionally, the company completed a water closet retrofit program ensuring that all campus fixtures are highly efficient; this has reduced water use by 30 percent. VMware expects these programs to save 13 million gallons of water annually.

“VMware’s commitment to community takes many forms, and one strong area of focus is our global sustainability efforts,” said Nicola Acutt, Vice President, VMware Foundation and Sustainability at VMware. “At our Palo Alto headquarters, we have taken actions to both improve our campus water efficiency and inspire our employees to conserve water at home, because we believe that individual actions matter. Joining Ceres’ Connect the Drops campaign extends our commitment to the community by helping California embrace innovation and invest in solutions that help us conserve, re-use and maximize our water supply.”

A world leader in next-generation wireless technologies, Qualcomm Incorporated works to identify opportunities to optimize water efficiency, foster ongoing, transparent communication with stakeholders, and continuously improve its water management practices. Products of Qualcomm Incorporated subsidiaries are used around the globe to promote water savings and solutions through its Smart Cities efforts.  Qualcomm also launched “Take the Water Pledge,”  to encourage employees to commit to one or more of 10 possible water-saving actions to reduce their water footprints for thirty days.  More than 2,000 employees globally rose to the challenge.

 “As a company headquartered in California, Qualcomm is acutely aware of the need to treat water as the precious natural resource it is. We are proud to join others in the business community in supporting Connect the Drops,” says Molly Gavin, Vice President of Government Affairs and Sustainability at Qualcomm Incorporated. “Innovation is one of our core values, which is why we are actively working to apply technology solutions to improving water quality and management.”

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About Ceres
Ceres is a nonprofit organization mobilizing business leadership on climate change, water scarcity and other global sustainability challenges. Ceres directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), a network of more than 110 institutional investors with collective assets totaling more than $13 trillion. Ceres also directs Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), an advocacy coalition of 36 businesses committed to working with policy makers to pass meaningful energy and climate legislation. For more information, visit or follow on Twitter @CeresNews and @kirstenjames_CA.


Meg Wilcox
+1 (617) 319-6457
Keywords: Environment | CERES | CLIF BAR | California | Connect the Drops | Fetzer Vineyards | Genentech | Qualcomm Incorporated | VMwar | Water | Water campaign

CONTENT: Press Release