Connect with key partners to leverage sustainable water management and manage the root causes of water risk
Truly transformational, comprehensive stewardship practice requires you to actively engage with others who share the same water challenges and value chain actors within your sphere of influence. Such engagement enables you to advance sustainable water management beyond your own gates and in doing so better address the root causes of water stress and water risk. Engagement activities may be challenging and complex, but are often the most impactful and important water stewardship activities.
Advance sustainable water management and collective action
- Prepare for action & identify potential partners
- Conduct impactful, mutually-beneficial collective actions
- Engage governments to encourage robust water governance
- Address root causes of water stress and water risk
- Build strong relationships with key partners
- Establish leadership in industry sector
One of the two key forms of engagement is partnering with other businesses, government agencies, communities, NGOs, and others with shared water challenges in order to address these challenges in a more effective, efficient, and holistic manner. This “collective action” allows organizations with diverse sets of expertise, knowledge, technology, and financial connections to collaborate on water issues that affect them all (such as collective impacts they might have).
The key benefits of collective action to promote sustainable water management include:
- An expanded pool of expertise, capacity, or financial resources focused on fostering change
- More durable outcomes with strong support from the engaged parties
- Establishment and maintenance of credibility and legitimacy with key interested parties, resulting in improved legal and social license to operate
- Stronger, more sustainable water governance by engaging multiple stakeholders
Collective action can take many forms, from simply exchanging information and data, to seeking advice, to engaging in multi-year partnerships with complex organizational and governance structures.
While collective action can be an incredibly powerful tool and arguably is a necessary component of any robust stewardship plan, it also brings with it many challenges and risks. The decision to partner with others brings with it expectations of prolonged engagement, vulnerability to a loss in reputation if there are negative outcomes, and the need to devote significant resources and time to achieve success. Because of this, companies considering collective action anticipate a wide range of risks and uncertainties to determine when potential benefits outweigh the costs.
The CEO Water Mandate’s Guide to Water-Related Collective Action offers a starting point for understanding collective action and beginning to prepare for action. Guide to Managing Water Integrity in Water Stewardship Initiatives offers insight into how to ensure highly-effective and mutually-beneficial partnerships. The Water Action Hub offers a platform that can help you identify collective action partners with similar interests.
While collective action can be an incredibly powerful tool and arguably is a necessary component of any robust stewardship plan, it also brings with it many challenges and risks. The decision to partner with others brings with it expectations of prolonged engagement, vulnerability to a loss in reputation if there are negative outcomes, and the need to devote significant resources and time to achieve success, among other things. Because of this, companies considering collective action consider and anticipate a wide range of risks and uncertainties to determine when potential benefits outweigh the costs. The CEO Water Mandate’s Guide to Water-Related Collective Action offers a starting point for understanding collective action and beginning to prepare for action. The CEO Water Mandate’s Water Action Hub offers a platform that can help you identify collective action partners with similar interests.
Facilitate improved performance in the value chain
- Establish communication and trust with suppliers and consumers
- Raise water awareness among suppliers and consumers
- Incentivize improved stewardship performance among suppliers and consumers
- Build mutually-beneficial relationships with key business partners
- Manage significant component of company’s water risks and impacts
A second form of engagement is connecting with your value chain partners, especially your suppliers and customers, to promote improved water performance and manage risks and impacts. By facilitating improved water performance among suppliers, you can further insulate your company from water risk and make production disruptions less likely. By encouraging customers to use your product more sustainably, you can reduce your product’s indirect water use while boosting your reputation and brand value.What? How?
You can facilitate improved performance in your supply chain through many different means. For example, you can:
- Embed expectations for water-related targets in supplier contracts
- Create supplier scorecards and reward higher performers
- Provide guidance and assistance to suppliers
Many suppliers only need to be provided the business case for action in order to motivate needed change. Supply chain engagement at its core is about using your position of influence to drive meaningful action that is mutually beneficial to the company, the supplier, and the communities in which they operate.
Value chain engagement can also mean engaging consumers to promote more sustainable use, reuse, or disposal of your products. For example, an apparel company might suggest that consumers only wash their jeans once every month.
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- Provides an overview of challenges and approaches that companies take to scaling action on WASH in their supply chains
- Lays out potential next steps for facilitating further corporate action
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate, the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, and WaterAid
The Hotel Water Measurement Initiative (HWMI) is a methodology and tool to enable hotels measure and report on water use in a consistent way. It was developed by the International Tourism Partnership in partnership with KPMG and 18 global hotel companies. HWMI is free of charge and can be used by any hotel anywhere in the world, from small guesthouses to 5 star resorts.
Developed by: Hotel Water Measurement Initiative, International Tourism Partnership
- Make the business case for investing in natural infrastructure, including healthy river basins and wetlands
Developed by: World Business Council for Sustainable Development
The Business Case for Responsible Corporate Adaptation: Strengthening Private Sector and Community Resilience (2015)
- Learn how companies can adapt to climate change through a collection of case examples, including some related to water
Developed by: CDP ND-GAIN OXFAM Rainforest Alliance UNEP DTU Partnerships United Nations Environment Programme United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change United Nations Global Compact
- Learn how your company can engage in support of universal access to and use of WASH
- Identify actionable to encourage catalytic forms of engagement between private sector organisations and institutions working on WASH
Developed by: Overseas Development Institute
Pathways to Achieving Sustainable Development Goals Related to Water and Sanitation: An Experience from India (2015)
- Learn about collaborative efforts to advance water stewardship and achieve Sustainable Development Goal #6 from Hindustan Unilever Foundation’s portfolio of projects in India
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate, Hindustan Unilever Foundation
- Understand and identify potential integrity risks to your water stewardship initiative (WSI)
- Determine how to structure WSIs so as to proactively prevent integrity risks
- Connect to practical tools that promote integrity in your WSI
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate, Water Integrity Network, Water Witness International, Partnerships in Practice, Pegasys, International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP)
Water Stewardship in Colombia: How Cooperation Improves Water Governance of the Paramo de Santurban (2015)
- Strengthen your collective action practice by learning about real-life examples of collaboration from Colombia
Developed by: Strategic Alliance for Water Stewardship (STA), International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP), GIZ
- Learn about the global sanitation crisis and how it undermines business viability
- Determine steps your company can promote improved access to sanitation at the workplace and in nearby communities
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate
- Assess river basin “sufficiency” so as to understand how much and what type of collective action is needed
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate, The Nature Conservancy, CDP
- Commit to, understand, plan, implement, evaluate, and communicate water stewardship actions at facility-level
Developed by: Alliance for Water Stewardship
- Conduct robust and granular measure of local water risk
- Assess water risk based on several measures in addition to physical water availability
- Evaluate projected changes in future water risk under three scenarios of climate and socio-economic change
Developed by: World Resources Institute
Shared Water Challenges and Interests: The Case for Private Sector Engagement in Water Policy and Management (2013)
- Learn more about the possible role of the private sector in advancing sustainable water management
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate, WWF
- Understand the nature of water challenges in conflict and high-risk areas
- Gain insight into how these challenges affect business and society
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate
- Inform “big picture” strategic planning
- Identify at what stage within the value chain the water footprint is in a hotspot
- Build awareness among public
Developed by: Water Footprint Network
- Conduct quick, first-tier facility-level risk screen based on company performance and watershed conditions
- Access detailed analysis of company’s exposure to water-related risk
- Easily understandable and useful for companies with limited understanding of water issues
Developed by: WWF, DEG
- Understand the various types of engagement and collective action models
- Determine when collective action is helpful and necessary
- Learn how to prepare for and organize collective actions
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate, Ross Strategic, Pegasys, Water Futures Partnership
- Understand how poor water governance can undermine your business
- Learn about the five core principles of responsible engagement
- Determine how your company can encourage and facilitate improved water governance and therefore manage water risk
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate, WWF, Water Witness International, Pegasys
- Understand basis for corporate action to advance sustainable water management “beyond the fenceline”
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate, WWF
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