Through our innovative products, sustainable operations and community investments, we are contributing to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The industry we are in, the regions where we operate and the focus areas of the PPG Foundation influence the level of impact we have on each goal.
We optimize water use not only in water-stressed regions of the world but in all of our facilities through conservation and reuse. Our global operations withdrew 17.5 million cubic meters of water in 2019, which was a 2.7% reduction compared to 2018. In addition, many of our products enable our customers to use less water in their operations.
Our global research and development efforts create breakthrough innovations that decrease energy use, reduce emissions, increase resource utilization and boost standards of living. In 2019, 33% of our total sales were derived from sustainable products and processes.
Community sustainability is one of three focus areas for our community engagement. In 2019, we invested more than $2.17 million in initiatives that protected the environment, provided disaster relief, met essential needs and helped the local economy grow. In addition, our 10-year, $10 million COLORFUL COMMUNITIES® program transformed community assets, such as schools, parks and healthcare facilities.
We are committed to using resources efficiently and driving sustainability throughout our entire value chain to preserve and protect the environment in which we operate. In 2019, our global operations achieved reductions in energy, waste, water and emissions. Our sustainable products also helped our customers reduce their environmental footprint.
Education is one of three focus areas for our community engagement. In 2019, we invested $6.8 million to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs around the world. Many of these programs developed STEM skills in young people, especially girls and economically disadvantaged youth.
In 2019, approximately 30% of our professional hires were women – a 7% increase since 2014. Our CEO is a signatory to the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion® pledge, which is the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Globally, our Women’s Leadership Council advocates on behalf of our female employees.
In 2019, our employees received salaries and benefits that were competitive in each market in which we operate. We also generated economic development by supporting thousands of well-paying jobs at suppliers around the world and contributing taxes to all levels of government.
At the local, regional and global level, we have formed partnerships with, and invested in, nongovernmental organizations that are working toward achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
We also have cultivated partnerships with customers, academic institutions and other public and private entities to advance sustainable technologies.
We primarily address poverty and income inequality by investing in educational opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth to provide a pathway for future success. These opportunities include scholarships, educational programming, summer and afterschool camps, mentoring, literacy initiatives and internships.
We provide our employees and their families with access to quality health care. For more than two decades, we also have nurtured a culture of wellness in our workplaces and communities. In 2019, 70% of our locations with 50 or more employees had a wellness program.
Fundamental to who we are is an unwavering commitment to high ethical standards and integrity. Throughout our global operations, we hold each employee accountable for defending human rights, abiding by all laws and being intolerant of bribery or corruption.