European manufacturing is good for you and good for the planet

Pisa pentair site
Pisa pentair site

European manufacturing is good for you and good for the planet

corporate responsability report

Pentair delivers smart, sustainable solutions that empower our customers to make the most of life’s essential resources. Advancing environmental sustainability runs through our DNA and our solutions help address global water and climate change challenges every day. So, as you would expect, we take the responsibility to reduce our own impact on climate change very seriously. Like any forward-thinking organisation we look in every direction to reduce our carbon footprint by reducing our direct emissions.

We have targeted to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse emissions by 50% by 2030, and we aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

In Europe, and across the globe, we are proud of a long list of implemented initiatives that are helping us to reach these targets. From all-LED lights across our European plants, to treating our own water and to being solar energy self-sufficient in our Pisa factory, we are already making great steps in tracking, managing and reducing the Scope 1 and 2 emissions generated from our direct manufacturing operations.


But what about Scope 3 emissions?

Scope 1 covers Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions that a business creates itself, like heating up a furnace or running a vehicle. Scope 2 covers the emissions it makes indirectly, like those from the  electricity it buys and which is being produced on its behalf.

Scope 3 emissions are the hardest ones to track and measure yet are frequently the biggest contributor. Defined as those ‘outside of an organisation’s ownership or direct control’ they form a large share of any manufacturers’ carbon footprint. In simple terms, Scope 3 cover all the steps to get the product to a customer. Think of the purchased raw materials, bought-in components, shipping and even disposal. For any manufacturer these end-to-end emissions can be many times the volume of direct emissions.

If your business, like Pentair, is targeting carbon neutrality, then Scope 3 cannot be ignored. A carbon-neutral target must factor in these indirect emissions. And that’s where our commitment to manufacturing in Europe is making a significant difference.

Made in Europe, Green for Europe

Regular readers of this blog will be well aware of the many benefits attached to being Made in Europe for Europe. Superior quality, better awareness of the local compliance landscape, as well as the local ‘human touch’ have all been covered by recent posts. But let’s consider the additional upside in terms of the net reduction of CO2 emissions from shipping.

Shipping is a massive generator of Scope 3 emissions and a huge contributor to everyone’s carbon footprint. It’s been estimated that shipping accounts for 2.5 % of human-caused carbon emissions. A report to the European Parliament estimated that number could rise as high as 10% by 2050. By basing our manufacturing here in Europe, we are dramatically reducing our own contribution to these emissions.

Manufacturing locally considerably reduces CO2 emissions from shipping


Let’s take our tank manufacturing as an example. Pentair is the only large-scale producer of moulded plastic tanks in Europe. They come in all shapes and sizes and are used everywhere from water storage systems to softeners. They are moulded from raw materials i.e. Polyethylene (PE) pellets, at our factory in Belgium.

Let’s assume we ship 16 tonnes of PE pellets on a single shipping container from the Far East. The carbon cost of shipping that container is about 1,200kg of CO2.  With those pellets in Europe, Pentair manufacture, say 1,000 pressure tank liners of 300 litre capacity.

If those 1,000 tanks had been manufactured in the Far East and shipped ‘pre-made’ to Europe (which is not uncommon), then nine shipping containers would have been required, mostly full of air given the shape of a tank. And the carbon cost for that consignment is 10,800 kg of CO2, nine times the amount of the single container. That’s how much CO2 500 trees absorb each year! If you apply that to every tank, cabinet and valve we produce, it quickly adds up – especially for a system like a softener which has multiple components, each of which would potentially need shipping separately and assembling in Europe.

ship container
Figure A – Shipping ready-made components requires more containers therefore generating more CO2 emissions. Figure B – shows how Pentair dramatically reduces those emissions by manufacturing locally from imported raw materials.

Local manufacturing is a good news story – end to end

Of course, transport does not stop at the shore. Our own components and systems move overland between our manufacturing sites, and we are driving down emissions here too with most of our internal logistics moving by rail rather than road. Furthermore, we are now requesting of our suppliers that all road hauliers only use trucks that are certified and fully compliant with the European emission standard Euro VI.

You don’t need to be a genius to work out why specifying Pentair, Made in Europe for Europe, is good for you and good for the planet. And it’s why we are passionate and committed to retaining our manufacturing here, and a good news story when you come to work out your own Scope 3 emissions.

Other ways Pentair Europe is tackling its direct emissions:


Pentair Pisa solar roof
The Pentair Pisa factory employs a solar roof to support the electric needs of the factory. In 2020 the installation produced 1,121,556 kWh of electricity – more than was consumed by the plant, with the surplus being returned to the national power grid.

LED lights the way
Both the Pentair Herentals and Pisa factories have replaced their entire 20,000 M2 factories with energy efficient LED lighting.

​Waste water recycled in the Arno
In 2021, the Pisa factory installed its own water treatment plant for all water used in the assembly and test processes. All water extracted from the river Arno is returned, compliant with the cleanliness standards of the local authorities.

Pisa electric fleet
Pisa has replaced its diesel car fleet with 100 % electric, zero-emission vehicles. Recharged by its rooftop solar panels, these vehicles travel over 300 miles a day and generate an annual CO2 reduction of 13 tonnes.

New efficient granulator 
Herentals is installing a new granulator, capable of recycling the wasted Polyethylene left by the blow moulding process. This investment will recoup 30% more scrapped PE, further saving on shipping and materials handling.


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