Water partner Xylem recognized for its innovative support


June 5, 2012

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  • Minamisanriku's salmon hatchery was rebuilt with support from Xylem. Here, the manager checks on the millions of eggs that were harvested last fall — in time to restart the life cycle that was destroyed in the 2011 tsunami. Photo: Randy Martin/Mercy Corps

When it comes to many of our biggest initiatives, which can span multiple countries, Mercy Corps partners with companies that want to make a difference. Their funding, and many times their technical expertise, allow us to bring some big changes to people’s lives around the world. Our work to respond to — and prevent — water-related disasters is a perfect example. So we’re proud to see our partner in that work, Xylem, Inc., recognized this week as leaders in corporate philanthropy.

Xylem received the 2012 Excellence Award in Corporate Philanthropy from the Committee For Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP). Every year CECP honors corporations with outstanding giving programs that focus on innovation, partnership, CEO leadership and effective measurement. We are proud to be partnered with Xylem to solve water-related challenges in some of the world’s toughest places and applaud CECP’s decision to recognize Xylem’s Watermark Corporate Social Responsibility program.

Xylem (which spun off from ITT last year) first partnered with us in 2008 through its signature Watermark social investment program, with the goal of providing safe water in the aftermath of natural disasters. Together, we have helped people get the lifesaving water they need in places like Indonesia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti.

The Xylem-Mercy Corps relationship runs deeper than providing safe drinking water in disasters, though. With Xylem’s financial support and expertise, Mercy Corps is able to rebuild community water systems, design water filtration and purification infrastructure, and respond to the threat of future flooding by constructing better protections and training people on safety skills.

In Japan, Xylem’s commitment to solving water challenges took shape in the form of Minamisanriku’s rebuilt salmon hatchery, which was destroyed by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. With the company’s and employees’ support, Mercy Corps provided everything from holding tanks to vehicles to fishing nets in time to harvest eggs last fall and release nearly five million baby salmon this past spring.

EXPLORE THE INFOGRAPHIC: Restarting Japanese economies one fish at a time

The heart of Minamisanriku’s economy is back up and running — and didn’t even miss a season. In 2016, when the full-grown salmon return, they are expected to yield at least $4 million in sales for the fishing families and related local businesses. In the meantime, 480 people have been employed as fishermen, hatchery tank maintenance employees and fish processors, providing much needed employment and economic support for those families still recovering from the aftermath of the disaster.

This is just one example of the impact of Xylem’s support in action. Our work together has improved the lives of over 500,000 people and taken significant steps toward Xylem’s mission of “solving water.”

We’ve long valued our relationship with Xylem for bringing an innovative approach to solving the social and commercial challenges inherit in providing water to people who need it. And we are glad to see that others are taking notice as well.