Business giants take action to preserve world’s water resources

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THE CHIEF executives of 11 large corporations, including The Coca-Cola Company, Microsoft and Heineken, have partnered up to have a net-positive impact on water resources throughout their supply chains and operation.

The CEO Water Mandate, aims to preserve the world’s freshwater resources through collective action in water-stressed basins and ambitious, quantifiable commitments.

Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, commented on the new coalition: “2020 marks the beginning of a Decade of Action – one where business ambition grounded in real, measurable commitments is needed to support the future of our planet.

“This new Coalition does just that by calling on business leaders to commit to action and collectively work together to address the challenges in front of us.”

Together with the CEO Water Mandate, seven companies spearheaded the Coalition, including AB InBev, Diageo, Dow Inc., Ecolab, Gap Inc., Microsoft and PVH Corp.

These co-founding companies – who will serve as Coalition leaders – as well as Coalition members, The Coca-Cola Company, HEINEKEN, Levi Strauss & Co., and Woolworths – have pledged their commitment to collective action and net positive impact, and issued a call to action for other companies to join with them.

As the world grapples with the mounting and substantial global risks, including impacts of climate change, one of the most visible consequences is stress on our shared freshwater resources.

Today, more than 25 per cent of the world’s population live in water-stressed regions and over the next decade, the world will experience a 56 per cent shortfall in freshwater supply, based on projected demand.

This looming shortage threatens not only our ecosystems, but our communities, our businesses and the global economy.

Given its dependence on freshwater resources, the private sector has a vested interest in ensuring that these resources are sustainable, resilient and ample enough to serve both the needs of society and industry.

The Water Resilience Coalition will ground its work in building the resilience of water-stressed basins around the world – prioritising those that pose the greatest risk to local communities and economies, industry and long-term economic prosperity.

Through collaboration, investment in infrastructure, innovation and policy advocacy, and by engaging supply chain partners and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the effort, businesses can help lead the way on water basin resilience.

Companies that join the Water Resilience Coalition will sign a pledge to make the needed investments in their own operations, as well as work together through collective action, to accomplish three overarching commitments by 2050:

  • Net Positive Water Impact: Deliver measurable net positive impact in water-stressed basins, focusing on the availability, quality and accessibility of freshwater resources. Net positive water impact is defined as contributing more to basin health than what is taken from it.
  • Water Resilient Value Chain: Develop, implement and enable strategies to support leading impact-based water resilience practices across the global value chain.
  • Global Leadership: Raise the ambition of water resilience through public and corporate outreach, as well as inspire other industry leaders to join the Coalition.

The launch of the Coalition comes on the heels of World Water Day and the 2020 World Water Development Report, recently published by UN Water, which further underscores the unified front needed to make significant strides to achieve global climate and water goals.

Furthermore, the report stresses the link between poor water management and exacerbated impacts of climate change.

The Water Resilience Coalition is committed to achieving a water resilient future in partnership with a host of organisations, including World Resources Institute, Water.org and The Nature Conservancy, among others.