Ecolab Watermark™ Study Reveals Global Generational Gap on Access to Clean and Safe Water

On World Water Day, findings show Baby Boomers are more concerned, want faster action than younger generations.

March 22, 2024
Water Plant

ST. PAUL, Minn. – March 22, 2024 – Data from a global study commissioned by Ecolab, a global sustainability leader offering water solutions and services, and conducted in partnership with Morning Consult, has revealed that the level and immediacy of clean and safe water concerns varies across generations.

Results from the Ecolab Watermark™ Study, global research that consulted more than 25,000 consumers across 15 different countries, found that while concern about water scarcity was high across all generations, older generations expressed higher levels of concern than younger generations. The study also revealed interesting insights into consumer attitudes towards clean and safe water:

  • Concern appears to increase by generation, with more than three of every four consumers noting concerns.
  • Baby Boomers (82%) are notably more concerned than Millennials (78%) and Generation Z (74%).
  • Generation X aligns more closely to Baby Boomers than Millennials and Generation Z on concern, urgency and the need to act today.
  • Generation Z consumers are less inclined to be concerned today (41%) and more concerned about what will happen in the future (56%).

Still, safe water emerges as one of the foremost environmental concerns for most generations, alongside other critical global issues such as pollution and climate change.

As a global leader in water management and solutions, Ecolab recognizes the role businesses play in forging a safer, more prosperous future. The company has been dedicated to working alongside their customers to advance a more water secure future for generations to come.

“We know that consumers around the world are concerned about the water crisis, and they want companies to be part of the solution,” said Christophe Beck, chairman and CEO, Ecolab. “Fortunately, companies can achieve profitability and support sustainable outcomes through smart water use. Ecolab’s commitment to its customers is not just about change – it’s about helping companies drive business performance and grow fast while making a net positive impact on the world.”

Each year on March 22, Ecolab looks to mark World Water Day by elevating the role of water and celebrating the company’s contribution to a year of change and progress.

Highlights from Ecolab’s Year in Water include:

  • Ecolab helped customers conserve more than 220 billion gallons of water in 2023, equivalent to the drinking water needs of more than 760 million people. By 2030, Ecolab aims to help customers conserve 300 billion gallons of water each year, equivalent to the annual drinking water needs of 1 billion people.
  • Ecolab continued to grow its Ecolab Water for Climate™ program, which is designed to help companies advance sustainable business growth while meeting climate and water goals. This is a critical venture as companies face growing pressure to respond to intensifying effects of climate change and water scarcity.
  • Ecolab celebrated a new Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) certification at Ecolab’s Monterrey, Mexico, manufacturing facility and Nanjing, China, manufacturing facility, bringing Ecolab’s total AWS-certified facility count to 10. These certifications help companies understand their water use and impact and implement strategies for smart water management.
  • Ecolab participated in the Open Call to Accelerate Action on Water, joining other private sector companies in a commitment to make collective positive impact in 100 basins supporting more than three billion people, as part of Ecolab’s involvement with the Water Resilience Coalition (WRC), which the company co-founded in 2020. 
  • Ecolab invested in an innovative water access fund from WaterEquity, an asset manager focused on solving the global water and sanitation crisis primarily in Central and South America, Africa, as well as Asia Pacific. Additional investor partners included Starbucks, Gap Inc., Reckitt and DuPont with additional backing by the U.S. DFC. The $150 million Global Access Fund IV, which closed in September 2023, aims to reach five million people with access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
  • As Basin Champion of the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin, Ecolab played a central role in launching the California Water Resilience Initiative (CWRI), which is a private sector initiative to accelerate coordinated, collective action to achieve a water-resilient future for California, in alignment with public sector goals.
  • Ecolab joined global leaders at the historic UN Water Conference, the first gathering of its kind since 1977, to advocate for water stewardship in the private sector. 
  • Ecolab received public recognition for sustainability, climate and water leadership as part of the CDP A Lists, JUST Capital’s America’s Most Just Companies, the Dow Jones Sustainability™ Indices, and Barron’s World’s Most Sustainable Companies, among others.
  • Ecolab continued to offer its Smart Water Navigator for free to any business looking to understand the value of water in their operations and take action to achieve corporate water goals.

Accelerating change through the power of water is core to Ecolab’s purpose to improve the health of people, planet and business around the world. The company shares its expertise in smart water use with customers to help them reduce, reuse and recycle water in their operations. In addition to supporting effective water use, Ecolab’s solutions help customers use energy more efficiently, reduce waste and cut greenhouse gas emissions to advance a more sustainable future.

To learn more about how Ecolab works with customers to help solve the world’s most complex problems amid a changing landscape, visit


Alyssa Meyers


March 22, 2024


About Ecolab

A trusted partner for millions of customers, Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) is a global sustainability leader offering water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services that protect people and the resources vital to life. Building on a century of innovation, Ecolab has annual sales of $15 billion, employs more than 48,000 associates and operates in more than 170 countries around the world. The company delivers comprehensive science-based solutions, data-driven insights and world-class service to advance food safety, maintain clean and safe environments, and optimize water and energy use. Ecolab’s innovative solutions improve operational efficiencies and sustainability for customers in the food, healthcare, life sciences, hospitality and industrial markets.

Follow us on LinkedIn @Ecolab, Twitter @Ecolab, Instagram @Ecolab_Inc and Facebook @Ecolab.

About Morning Consult

Morning Consult is a global decision intelligence company changing how modern leaders make smarter, faster, better decisions. The company pairs its proprietary high-frequency data with applied artificial intelligence to better inform decisions on what people think and how they will act. Learn more at

Related News